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Victoria College 


L. E. HORNING, B.A., Ph.D. 



Slang and Colloquial English 



Farmer and W. E. Henley, with the revised 

Vol. L 7 vols. 
MUSA PEDESTBIS, Slang Songs and Canting 

Rhymes (1636-1896). 1 voL 
CHOICE OF VALENTINES, a hitherto unpublished 

MS. of Thomas Nash. 1 voL 

dard. 1 voL 

photo-facsimile of the oldest Slang Dictionary 

extant 1 vol. 


ARMY. 1 voL 

A Dictionary of Slang 
and Colloquial English 

Abridged from the seven-volume work, entitled 

Slang and its Analogues 



George Routledge & Sons, Limited 

New York: E. P. Button & Co. 





%* The figures in brackets, thus [1585], which occur in the text may be taken 
as indicating, in most cases, the date of the earliest illustrative quotation 
given in the larger work, ' Slang and its Analogues. ' 




1553. WITHALS, JOHN . 

1575. AWDELEY, JOHN . 

Promptorium Parvulorum sive 
clericorum. The first English- 
Latin Dictionary. 

L'Esclarcissement de la Langue 

Abecedarium Anglico-Latinum pro 

A Little Dictionarie for Children 
(Latin and English). 

Caveat or Warening for Common 
Cursetors vulgarly called Vaga- 
bones. The earliest Glossary of 
the language of " the Canting 

Manipulus Vocabulorum. 

Vacabondes, the Fraternatye of, as 
well as of ruflyng Vacabones, as 
of beggerly, of Women as of 
Men, of Gyrles as of Boyes, with 
their proper Names and Qualities, 
with a Description of the Crafty 
Company of Cousoners and 
Shifters, also the XXV. Orders 
of Knaves; otherwyse called a 
Quartern of Knaves, confirmed 
by Cocke LorelL 

A List of Dictionarie* and Other Work*. 

1686. WITHALS. JOHN . 


1599. MINSHEU, JOHN . 


1616. B[ULLOKAB], J[OHN] . 

1617. MINSHEU, JOHN . 


1660. HOWKLL, JAMES . 

1674. HEAD, RICHABD . 
1677. MIEOE, GUY . 

c. 1696. E. B., GENT . 

1719. SMITH, CAPT. 

1724. SMITH, CAPT. 

1754. ANON 


A Shorte Dictionarie in Latine and 

Dictionarie, French and English. 

A Worlde of Wordes ; a most copi- 
ous Dictionarie of the Italian 
and English Tongues. 

Dictionarie in Spanish and English 
(Percivale's ed.). 

Dictionarie de la langue franc aise. 

English Expositor of Hard Words. 

Guide into the Tongues, English, 
British or Welsh, Low Dutch, 
High Dutch, French, Italian, 
Spanish Portuguese, Latin,Greek, 
and Hebrew. 

Glofisographia, or Dictionary inter- 
preting the hard words now used 
in our refined English language. 

The New World of English Words, 
or a General Dictionary contain- 
ing the interpretations of such 
hard words as are derived from 
other languages (Florio's Dic- 
tionary revised). 

Lexicon Tetraglotton, an English- 
French - Italian - Spanish Dic- 

Canting Academy, with Compleat 
Canting Glossary. 

A New Dictionary, French and 
English, with another, English 
and French. 

A New Dictionary of the Terms, 
Ancient and Modern, of the Cant- 
ing Crew in its several Tribes 
(the earliest Slang Dictionary, 
per se). 

Lives of Highwaymen, containing 
Canting Glossary. 

An Universal, Etymological English 
Dictionary, comprehending the 
Derivation of the Generality of 
Words in the English Tongue, 
either Ancient or Modern. 

Thieves' Dictionary. 

Etymological English Dictionary. 
A Collection of Ancient and 
Modern Cant Words appears as 
appendix to VoL ii. 

The Scoundrel's Dictionary; or, 
An Explanation of the Cant- 
words used by Thieves, House- 
breakers, Street - robbers, and 
Pick-pockete about Town. 

A Marine Dictionary. 

A List of Dictionaries and Other Works. 





1812. VAUX, J. H. . 
1812. ANON . 

1822. NARES, ROBERT . 

1823. BEE, GEORGE 


1841. DANA, R. H., JTJN. 
1846. HALLIWELL, JAMES 0. . 


1848. ANON * 



1859. [Edited by JOHN CAMDEN 

A Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. 

Diversions of Purley. 

Dictionary of all the Cant and Flash 

Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, or a Dic- 
tionary of the Terms Academical 
and Colloquial, or Cant, which 
are used at the University. 

An Etymological Dictionary of the 
Scottish Language. 2vols.,with 
supplement, 2 vols. 

Flash Dictionary. 

Bang-up Dictionary, or the Lounger 
and Sportsman's Vade-mecum. 

A Glossary of Words and Phrases, 
etc., in the Works of English 
Authors, particularly Shake- 
speare and his Contemporaries. 
(New ed., with considerable 
additions by J. O. Halh'well and 
Thomas Wright, 1876). 

A Dictionary of the Turf, the Ring, 
The Chase, the Pit, of Bon Ton 
and the Varieties of Life, forming 
the completest Lexicon Bala- 
tronicum ever offered to the 
Sporting World. 

The Ladies' Lexicon and Parlour 

Dictionary of Sea Terms. 

A Dictionary of Archaic and Pro- 
vincial Words. 2 vols. 

Dictionary of American Words and 
Phrases (ed. of 1877). 

Sinks of London laid open ; a 
Pocket Companion for the Un- 
initiated, to which is added a 
modern Flash Dictionary, con- 
taining all the Cant Words, Slang 
Terms, and Flash Phrases now 
in Vogue, with a list of the 
Sixty Orders of Prime Coves. 

The Vulgar Tongue. Two Glossaries 
of Slang and Flash Words and 

A Dictionary of Modern Slang, 
Cant, and Vulgar Words after- 
wards entitled The Slang Dic- 
tionary, Etymological, Historical, 
and Anecdotal (latest ed., 1885). 

Liber Vagatorum: Der Betler 
Orden, 4to. Translated into 
English, with Notes, by John 
Camden Hotten, as the Book of 
Vagabonds and Beggars, with a 


A List of Dictionaries and Other Worla. 

1879-82. SKBAT, RBV. W. W. 



1881. DAVTES, REV. T. L. O. . 

1884-1904. MUBBAY, JAMES A. H. 
and A. CRAIOIE) 

1886. YULE, COL. H., & BTTBNELL, 



1888. FARMER, JOHN S. . 

1889. BARRERE, A., and LELAND 

1900. FARMER, JOHN S. 

vocabulary of their Language 
(Rotwdeche Sprach) ; edited, with 
preface, by Martin Luther, in 
the year 1528. 

Etymological Dictionary of the 
English Language, arranged on 
an Historical Basis. 

Reader's Handbook of Allusions, 
References, Plots, and Stories. 

A Dictionary of English Phrases, 
with Illustrative Sentences. 

A Supplementary English Glossary. 

Every - day Life in our Public 
Schools. (Contains a Glossary 
of Public School Slang.) 

A New English Dictionary on 
Historical Principles, Founded 
mainly on the Materials collected 
by the Philological Society. In 

Hobson-Jobson, being a Glossary 
of Anglo-Indian Colloquial Words 
and Phrases, Etymological, His- 
torical, Geographical, and Dis- 

The New English. 

Argot and Slang. 

Americanisms, Old and New. 

Slang, Jargon, and Cant. 

The Public School Word Book. 


Slang and Colloquial English 

A. A per se. The best ; first-class ; 
Al (q.v.) : see Tip-top. The usage 
became popular and was extended to 
other vocables. As subs., a paragon 
(1470). Al. (1) Prime; first-class, 
of the best. The character A denotes 
New Ships, of Ships Renewed or Re- 
stored. The Stores of Vessels are de- 
noted by the figures 1 and 2 ; 1 signi- 
fying that the Vessel is well and suffi- 
ciently found (Key, Lloyd's Register). 
Also First-class, letter A ; Al copper- 
bottomed ; and Al and no mistake : 
Fr. marque cl V A (money coined in 
Paris was formerly stamped with an A). 
Cf. A per se (1369). (2) Sometimes 
(erroneously) No. 1. Atitlefor the com- 
mander of 900 men in the army of the 
Irish Republican Brotherhood : obso- 
lete Fenian. Not knowing great A (ora 

K\ irnvn n 7)7/'*.//W tr>r n hnHloJ- \ 

The late Mr. W. E. Henley, who died in 
July, i go 3, is not responsible for any errors 
in this volume abridged in 1904-5 from 
Slang and its Analogues, in seven volumes, 
edited by him and by Mr. J. P. Farmer 

Haron, a mountaineer.] (2) The 
leader of a gang of thieves ; always 
with ' the ' as a prefix. (3) A leader 
o the church (1607). 

A. B. An A [ble]-b[odied] seaman. 

Abba. A term of contempt : gen- 
eric. As subs., a non-unionist: as adj., 
vile, silly. 

Aback. To take aback, to surprise, 
check : suddenly and forcibly. [Orig. 
nautical : in which sense (0. E. D.) 
dating from 1754.] 

Abacter (or Abactor). Stealera 
of Cattle or Beasts, by Herds, or great 
numbers ; and were distinguished 
from Fures (Blount). 

Abaddon. A thief turned informer ; 
a snitcher (q.v.). [Obviously a Jew 
fence's punning reference to Abaddon, 
the angel of the bottomless pit ; Rev. 
i-r n i 

ana) thief. 
:ewer : A 
ma lad.] 

pi., spec. 

tten Row. 

abstract ; 

. A bawd; 
'q.v.) : cf. 
X5. (1770.) 
bbey to a 
o able to 
ak it of an 
jpence ; to 
make of a 
D thwite a 
rick ; His 
*> a nut- 

A List of Dictionaries and Other Works. 

1879-82. SKKAT, REV. W. W. 


1881. KWONO KI Cmu . 

1881. DAVIES, REV. T. L. 0. . 


1884-1904. MURRAY, JAMBS A. H. 
and A. CRAIOIE) 

1886. YULE, COL. H., & BUBNELL, 



1888. FARMER, JOHN S. . 

1889. BARRERE, A., and LELAND, 

1900. FARMER, JOHN S. 

vocabulary of their Language 
(Rotwdsche Sprach) ; edited, with 
preface, by Martin Luther, in 
the year 1528. 

Etymological Dictionary of the 
English Language, arranged on 
an Historical Basis. 

Reader's Handbook of Allusions, 
References, Plots, and Stories. 

A Dictionary of English Phrases, 
with Illustrative Sentences. 

A Supplementary English Glossary. 

Every - day Life in our Public 
Schools. (Contains a Glossary 
of Public School Slang.) 

A New English Dictionary on 
Historical Principles, Founded 
mainly on the Materials collected 
by the Philological Society. In 

Hobson-Jobson, being a Glossary 
of Anglo-Indian Colloquial Words 
and Phrases, Etymological, His- 
torical, Geographical, and Dis- 

The New English. 

Argot and Slang. 

Americanisms, Old and New. 

Slang, Jargon, and Cant. 

The Public School Word Book. 


Slang and Colloquial English 

A. A per se. The best ; first-class ; 
Al (q.v.) : see Tip- top. The usage 
became popular and was extended to 
other vocables. As subs., a paragon 
(1470). Al. (1) Prime; first-class, 
of the best. The character A denotes 
New Ships, of Ships Renewed or Re- 
stored. The Stores of Vessels are de- 
noted by the figures 1 and 2 ; 1 signi- 
fying that the Vessel is well and suffi- 
ciently found (Key, Lloyd's Register). 
Also First-class, letter A ; Al copper- 
bottomed ; and Al and no mistake : 
Fr. marque cl VA (money coined in 
Pariswas formerly stamped with an A). 
Cf. A per se (1369). (2) Sometimes 
(erroneously) No. 1. Atitlefor the com- 
mander of 900 men in the army of the 
Irish Republican Brotherhood : obso- 
lete Fenian. Not knowing great A (ora 
B) from a bull's-foot (or a battledore), 
ignorant, illiterate : see B. What 
with A, and what with B : see What. 
To get one's A (Harrow), to pass a 
certain standard in the gymnasium: 
the next step is to the Gymnasium 
Eight. To get A (Felsted School), to 
be (practically) free of all restriction as 
to bounds : nominally the other bounds 
were, B, the ordinary limit, the roads 
about a mile from the school ; C, 
punishment bounds, confinement to the 
cricket field and playground ; and D, 
confinement to the old school-house 
playground, one of the commonest 
forms of punishment till 1876, when 
the present school-house was opened : 
C and D were also known respectively 
as Mongrel and Quod. 

Aaron (1) A cadger (q.v.) ; a 
beggar mountain-guide. [Gesenius : 
prob. Heb. Aaron is a derivative of 

Haron, a mountaineer.] (2) The 
leader of a gang of thieves ; always 
with ' the ' as a prefix. (3) A leader 
o the church (1607). 

A. B. An A [ble]-b[odied] seaman. 

Abba. A term of contempt : gen- 
eric. As subs., a non-unionist : as adj., 
vile, silly. 

Aback. To take aback, to surprise, 
check : suddenly and forcibly. [Orig. 
nautical : in which sense (0. E. D.) 
dating from 1754.] 

Abacter (or Abactor). Stealera 
of Cattle or Beasts, by Herds, or great 
numbers ; and were distinguished 
from Fures (Blount). 

Abaddon. A thief turned informer ; 
a snitcher (q.v.). [Obviously a Jew 
fence's punning reference to Abaddon, 
the angel of the bottomless pit ; Rev. 
ix. 11.] 

Abandannad (or Abandannaad). 

( 1) A handkerchief (or bandanna) thief. 
Hence (2) a petty thief. [Brewer : A 
contraction (sic) of a bandanna lad.] 

Abandoned Habit. In pi., spec. 

the riding demi-monde in Rotten Row. 

Abber (Harrow). (1) An abstract; 

(2) an absit (q.v.). 

Abbess (or Lady Abbess). A bawd; 
a stewardess of the stews (q.v.) : cf. 
Abbot; Nun; Sacristan; etc. (1770.) 

Abbey. To bring an abbey to a 
grange, to squander : also able to 
buy an abbey (Say : we speak it of an 
unthrift). Among kindred expressions 
are : To bring a noble to ninepence ; to 
make of a lance a thorn ; to make of a 
pair of breeches a purse ; to thwite a 
mill - post to a pudding - prick ; Hia 
wind-mill is dwindled into a nut- 
cracker ; from abbess to lay-sister. 



Abbey-laird. An insolvent debtor : 
pec. one sheltered in the sanctuary of 
Holyrood Abbey. (1709.) 

Abbey - lubber (or loon). An 
idler, vagabond : orig. (prior to the 
Reformation) a lazy monk or hanger-on 
to a religious house. Hence abbey- 
lubber-like, lazy, thriftless, ne'er-do- 
well : see Lubber. (1509.) 

Abbot. A bawd's man : ponce 
(q.v.) : see Abbess. Whence Abbot on 
the cross (or croziered abbot), the bully 
(q.v.) of a brothel. Abbot (or Lord) of 
Misrule, the leader of the Christmas 
revels. Also (Scots) Abbot of unreason, 
and FT. AbbtdeLiease (Abbot of Joy). 

Abbotts' Priory. The King's 
Bench Prison : Abbotfs Park, the rules 
thereof (Grose, 1823, Bee). [Sir Charles 
. Abbott, afterwards Lord Tenterden, 
was Lord C.-J. of the King's Bench, 

ABC (The). 1. The A B C 
(Alphabetical) Railway Guide. 2. 
(London). An establishment of the 
ASrated Bread Company: orig. bakers, 
now refreshment caterers. Hence 
ABC girl, a waitress therein. 3. 
(Christ's), Ale, .Bread, and Cheese on 
going home night. 4. Generic for 
beginnings : thus, like (or as easy as) 
ABC, facile, as simple as learning 
the alphabet ; down to the A BC, down 
to first principles, or the simplest rudi- 
ments. (1595.) 

Abear. To endure, suffer. [O.E.D.: 
A word of honourable antiquity ; 
widely diffused in the dialects ; in 
London reckoned as a vulgarism. 
(885 with a gap to c. 1836)]. 

Aberdeen Cutlet A dried had- 
dock : cf. Billingsgate pheasant. 

Abigail. A waiting-woman, lady's 
maid. [Abigail, a waiting gentlewoman 
in The Scornful Lady (1616) by Beau- 
mont and Fletcher : also see 1 Sam. 
xxv. 24-31.] Hence Abigailthip 
(Grose). Cf. Andrew, Acre*, etc. 

Abingdon-law. Summary punish- 
ment : cf. Stafford-law ; Lydford-law ; 
Scarborough- warning, etc. [In 1645, 
lord Essex and Waller held Abingdon, 
in Berks, against Charles I. The town 
was unsuccessfully attacked by Sir 
Stephen Hawkins in 1644, and by 
prince Rupert in 1645. On theae occa- 
sions the defenders put every Irish 
prisoner to death without trial] 

Ablewhackets (or Abelwhackets). 
A popular sea game with cards, 
wherein the loser is beaten over the 
palms of the hands with a handkerchief 
tightly twisted like a rope. Very popu- 
lar with horny-fisted sailors (Smyth). 

Aboard. A gamester's term for 
getting even in score. 

About See East, Right, Size. 

Above. See Bend, Par, Hooka, 
Huckleberry, Persimmon. 

Abracadabra. (1) A cabalistic 
word, formerly used as a charm. Hence 
(2), any word-charm, verbal jingle, 
gibberish, nonsense, or extravagancy. 

Abraham. 1. A cheap clothier's, 
slop (q.v.), or hand-me-down shop 
(q.v.). Hence Abraham work, ill-paid 
work, sweated labour (see Abraham- 
man). 2. Auburn : formerly written 
abern and abron : also Abram and 
Abraham-coloured. (1592.) 3. See 
Abraham- man. 

Abraham Grains. A publican 
brewing his own beer. 

Abraham-man (Abram, Abram- 
man or Abram-cove). A sturdy 
beggar (1567): also Bedlam beggar 
(q.v.) and Tom of Bedlam. These 
sturdy beggars roamed the country, 
begging and stealing, down to the 
period of the Civil Wars.] Hence 
To sham (or do) Abram (or to Abraham 
sham), to feign madness, sham sick 
(nautical). Also Abram, naked, mad, 
shamming sick ; Abraham-work, shams 
of all kinds, false pretences : whence to 
go on the Abraham suit, to resort to 
trick or artifice. The mad Tom of 
King Lear is an Abram-man : see 
Edgar's description, iii. 4.] 

Abraham Newl and. A bank note. 
[Abraham Newland was chief cashier 
to the Bank of England, from 1778 to 
1807.] Hence To sham Abraham, to 
forge bank paper. 

Abraham's Balm. Hanging: see 

Abraham's - bosom. Dead and 
gone to heaven : cf. Luke xvi. 22. 

Abraham's eye. A magic charm, 
the application of which was supposed 
to deprive a thief, who refused to con- 
fess his crime, of eyesight. 

Abraham's Willing. A shilling: 
see Rhino. 

Abroad. 1. Wide of the mark, out 
of one's reckoning, perplexed. To 
come abroad (Winchester), to return to 
school work after sickness ; to be on 




the sick list is to be continent (q.v.). 
Also to be furked abroad, to be sent back 
to school after going continent: an 
implication of shamming. 

Abroaded. A noble defaulter on 
the continent to avoid creditors was 
said to be abroaded ; also police slang 
for convicts sent to a colonial or penal 
settlement, but likewise applied by 
thieves to imprisonment merely. 

Abs (Winchester). (1) Absent: 
placed against the name of a boy when 
absent from school. Also (2) to take 
away. Formerly, circa 1840, to abs a 
tolly (candle), meant to put itout; now, 
to take it away, whether lighted or 
unlighted : the modern notion (q.v.) 
for putting it out being to dump it. 
(3) To get (or put) away ; generally in 
the imperative : e.g. abs ! Hence, 
to abs quickly, to stir one's stumps 
(q.v.), or to put things away with 
speed. To have one's wind absed, to 
get a breather (q.v.). 

Abscotchalater. One in hiding 
from the police : cf. Absquatulate. 

Absence (Eton). Names - calling. 

Absent. Absent without leave, of 
one who has broken prison, or ab- 

Absentee. A convici. 

Absent-minded Beggar. Tommy 
Atkins (q.v. ) : popularised by Kipling's 
verses in aid of the wives and children 
of soldiers serving in South Africa dur- 
ing the Boer War. 

Absit. Every undergraduate wish- 
ing to leave Cambridge for a whole day, 
not including a night, must obtain an 
absit from his tutor. Permission to go 
away for a longer period ... is called 
an exeat. 

Abskize (or Abschize). To de- 
camp : see Bunk. [Said to be of 
Western origin, circa 1833.] 

Absquatulate (or Absquotilate). 
To decamp, skedaddle (q.v.) : see 
Bunk. (1833.) 

Academy. (1) A gang of thieves ; 
(2) a rendezvous for thieves, harlots, or 
gamesters; and (3) a prison. Hence 
Academician, (1) a thief, and (2) a 
harlot. Also buzzing academy, a train- 
ing school for pickpockets ; canting- 
academy, ( 1 ) a common lodging-house, 
dossing-ken (q.v.), or house of call for 
beggars, and (2) a likely house for 
working (q.v.) ; floating academy, the 
hulks; character academy, a resort of 

servants without characters, which are 
there concocted ; and gammoning- 
academy, a reformatory (B. E., Grose, 
Bee, Matsell.) 

Accident. ( 1 ) Seduction ; and (2) 
a bastard : see By-blow. 

Accommodate. 1. To equip, supply, 
provide. [ Jonson, Discoveries : one of 
the perfumed terms of the time, 
Halliwell : the indefinite use is well 
ridiculed by Bardolph's vain attempt to 
define it (2 H. IV., iii. 2. 77) : cf. to 
accommodate with a loan, or with cash 
for a cheque.] (1597.) 2. To part a bet, 
or to let a person go halves (that is to 
accommodate him) in a bet that is likely 
to come off successful. It is also, in an 
ironical manner, to believe a person 
when you are well assured he is uttering 
a lie, by observing you believe what he 
is saying, merely to accommodate him 

Accompany. To cohabit. (1500.) 

Account. To cast up accounts 
(one's gorge, or reckoning). 1. To 
vomit, cat (or shoot the cat) (q.v.): 
orig. to cast, thence by punning exten- 
sion (Ray, Grose) : also to audit one's 
accounts at the Court of Neptune 
(1484). 2. To turn King's evidence. 
To go on the account, to join a fili- 
bustering or buccaneering expedition, 
turn pirate. [Ogttvie: probably from 
the parties sharing, as in a commercial 
venture.] (1812.) To account for, to 
kill, literally to be answerable for 
bringing down one's share of the shoot- 
ing ; make away with. (1846.) To 
give a good account of, to be successful, 
do one's duty by : e.g. The stable gave 
a good account of their trainer. 

Accoutrement. In pi., fine 
rigging (now) for Men or Women, 
(formerly) only Trappings for Horses. 
Well accoutred, gentilly dress'd 
(B. E.). [A recognised usage from the 
middle of the 16th century.] 

Accumulative. A sort of jour- 
nalistic sparring match, codicil (q.v.). 

Accumulator. A backer, success- 
ful with one horse,carrying forward the 
stakes to another event. 

Ace. The smallest standard of 
value : also ambs-ace : see Rap, Straw, 
etc. Hence To bate an ace, to make a 
slight reduction : also bate me an ace, 
quoth Bolton, a derisive retort ; with- 
in an ace (or amb's-ace), nearly, within 
a shade : see Ames Ace. (1528.) 

Ace of Spades. 


Ace of Spades. 1. A widow. 2. 
A black-haired woman. 

Ack (Christ's). No ! refusal of a 
request, e.g. Lend me your book. 

Ackman (Ackpirate or Ackruff). 
A fresh-water thief or pirate. [Cf. 
dialectic Acker, flood-tide, a bore, and 

Acknowledge. To aclcntndedge the 
torn, to confess, make an admission : 
as to an accusation, failure, etc. 

Acock-horse (or Acock). (1) 
Triumphant; also (2) defiantly. 

Acorn. Horse foaled of an acorn, 
the gallows : see Ladder and Nubbing- 
cheat (Grose). (1694.) 

''Acquisitive. Plunder, booty, 

Acreocracy. The landed interest : 
cf. Snobocracy, Squattocracy, Mob- 
ocracy, Cottonocracy, Slavocracy, etc. 

Acres. A coward : see The Rivals, 
v. 13. (1775.) 

Acrobat. A glass [i.e. tumbler]. 

Across. Across lots, (1) by the 
shortest way ; (2) completely. (1848. ) 

Acteon. A cuckold, also as verb : 
whence Acieon's badge, the stigma 
of cuckoldom (B. E., Grose, Bee). 

Acting Dicky. 1. A temporary 
appointment which may, or may not, 
be confirmed by the Admiralty ; an 
acting-order. 2. A man acting in the 
name of an enrolled solicitor. 

Active Citizen. A louse : see 
Chates (Grose and Bee). 

Act of Parliament Small beer, 
five pints of which, by an act of Parlia- 
ment, a landlord was formerly obliged 
to give gratis to each soldier billeted 
upon him. 

Actual. Money ; generic : see 
Rhino: also the actual. (1856.) 

Ad (or Adver). An advertisement. 

Adam. 1. A bailiff (Comedy of 
Errors, iv. 3). 2. A master man, fore- 
man : see Adam's Ale and Adam Tiler. 

Adamed. Married. 

Adam's- ale (-wine, or Adam). 
Water. (1643.) English synonyms, 
aqua pura ; aqua pompaginis ; fish 
broth ; pure element. 

Adam's-apple. The thyroid car- 
tilage : also Adam's- morsel. (1586.) 

Adam's -arms. A spade; cf. old 

saw : When Adam delved and Eve 
span, Who was then the gentleman ? 
Hence Adam's profession, spade work 
(i.e. gardening). (1602.) 

Adam Tiler (or Adam). An 
accomplice. (1696.) 

Add. To add to the list, to geld, 
add to the list of geldings in train- 
Addition. Colouring matter, or 
cosmetics used for the face. ( 1 704. ) 

Addition, Division, and Silence 1 
A Philadelphia catch phrase : properly 
multiplication, division, and silence \ a 
reply given by William (Boss) Tweed 
when asked the proper qualification for 
a ring or trust (1872.) 

Addle. To addle the shoon, to roll 
on the back from side to side : of 
horses. [In the South a horse is then 
said to earn a gallon of oats.] 

Addle-egg. Addle egg and Idle 
head, anything worthless, an abortion. 

Addle- brain (-cove, -head, or 
-pate). A stupid bungler, dullard, 
one full of Whimsies and Projects, and 
as empty of Wit (B. E. and Grose). 
Hence addle-brained, etc. (1 580. ) 

Addle-plot A marplot, spoil-sport, 
Martin-mar-all (B. E. and Grose). 

Adjective- Jerker. A writer for 
the press ; ink-slinger (q.v.). 

Adjutant's Gig. The barrack 
roller : usually drawn by men under 

Admiral. Admiral of the Blue, a 
tapster : from the colour of his apron 
(Grose). (1731.) Admiral of the 
Narrow Seas, a man vomiting into the 
lap of his neighbour or vis-b-vis (Grose). 
Admiral of the Red, a sot : see Lushing- 
ton. Admiral of the Red, White, and 
Blue, a beadle, hall-porter, or similar 
functionary when sporting the livery 
of office. Admiral of the White, a 
white-faced person, coward, woman in 
a faint Yalow Admiral, a rear- 
admiral retired without service afloat 
after promotion. [Admirals of the red, 
the white, or the blue, were grades in 
naval rank prior to 1864, according to 
the colour of the ensign displayed : all 
admirals now fly the white ensign, and 
they rank as Admiral of the Fleet, 
Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rear- 
Admiral.] To tap the Admiral, (1) to 
suck the monkey : see quots. ; Germ. 
Den Affen saugcn. Also (2) to drink 
on the sly. (1834.) 

Admiral's Regiment. 


Admiral's Regiment (The). The 
Royal Marines ; also nicknamed The 
Little Grenadiers, The Jollies, and 
The Globe Rangers. 

Adonis. 1. A dandy, exquisite. 
Hence, to ad-onize, to dandify, dress 
to kill : of men only. (1611.) 2. A 
wig. (1760.) 

Adrift. Loose I'll turn ye adrift, 
a Tar phrase ; I'll prevent ye doing me 
any harm (B. E.); also (Orose) adrift, 
discharged. Hence, astray, puzzled, 
distracted. (1690.) 

Adsum (Charterhouse). A response 
in answer to a summons or names- 
calling. (1821.) 

Adullamites. 1. A nickname for 
seceding Liberals who in 1866 voted 
Tory because dissatisfied with a Liberal 
measure for the extension of the Fran- 
chise. [See 1 Sam. xxii. 1.] The 
political party in question were 
also known collectively as The 
Cave. Hence (2) Adullamy, ratting 

Advantage. 1. A thirteenth: 
added to a dozen of anything ; (2) 
something in addition : also vantage. 
See Baker's dozen and Lagniappe. 
(1641.) To play upon advantage, to 
cheat. (1592.) 

^Egrotat (/Eger). 1. An excuse 
for absence on account of sickness ; (2) 
a medical or other certificate of indis- 
position (Grose). [Mgritude, sickness; 
Mgroiat, an invalid. (1532).] Hence 
reading-cegrotant, leave taken to read 
for a degree ; oeger-room (Felsted), the 
sick room. Lat. he is sick.] Oradus 
ad Cantab., 1803. 

Affidavit-man. A false witness, 
said to attend Westminster Hall, and 
other courts of justice, ready to swear 
anything for hire (Orose). 

Afflicke. A thief. (1610.) 

Afflicted. Drunk : see Screwed 

Afflictions. Mourning goods : 
e.g. Afflictions are quiet, there is little 
demand for mourning. Mitigated 
afflictions, half mourning. 

Affygraphy. To an affygraphy, 
to a nicety, a T. In an affygraphy, 
in a moment, directly. 

Afloat. Drunk: see Screwed: also 
with back teeth well afloat. 

Afraid. Among colloquial and 
proverbial sayings are : He that's 
afraid of grass must not piss in a 
meadow (Ital. Chi ha paura d"ogni 

urtica non pisci in herba, He that's 
afraid of every nettle must not piss in 
the grass) ; He that's afraid of leaves 
must not come in a wood (French, Qui 
a peur des feuittes ne doit pas oiler au 
bois : Ital., Nbn entri tra rocca e fuso 
chi non vuol esser filato) ; He that's 
afraid of the wagging of feathers must 
keep from among wild fowl ; He 
that's afraid of wounds must not come 
near a battle ; He's never likely to 
have a good thing cheap that's afraid to 
ask the price ; Afraid of far enough 
(fearful of what is not likely to happen) 
Afraid of him that died last year 
(fearful of a shadow) ; Afraid of the 
hatchet lest the helve strike him ; 
Afraid of his shadow ; More afraid 
than hurt. 

After. A long way after, of a 
sketch, cartoon, or burlesque of aclassic 
picture, book, etc. 

After -clap. (1) Anything unex- 
pected (spec, disagreeable), after the 
conclusion of a matter. Hence (2) a 
demand made over and above a 
stipulated price, or for an amount 
already paid (Orose). (14th century.) 

After - dinner Man (or After- 
noon's - man). A man who drinks 
long into the afternoon : it was the 
custom, formerly, to dine in the halls 
of our Inns of Court about noon, and 
those who returned after dinner to work 
must have been much devoted to 
business, or obliged to work at unusual 
hours by an excess of it. (1614.) 

Afternoon-buyer. One who buys 
not until after the market dinner, 
thereby hoping to buy cheaper. 

Afternoon - farmer. A laggard ; 
spec, a farmer late in preparing his 
land, in sowing or harvesting his crops; 
hence one who loses his opportunities. 

Afternoon-tea (Roy. High Sch., 
Edin.). Detention after three o'clock. 

After Twelve. See Twelve. 

Against. Against the grain 
(collar, or hair), contrary to inclination, 
unpleasant, unwillingly done (Grose). 
(1589.) To run against, to meet by 
accident : e.g. I ran against him the 
other day in Brighton. 

Agaze. Astonished, open - eyed 
(Hatsell.) (1400.) 

-agger (Charterhouse). As in Com- 
binaggers, & combination suit : esp. 
football attire. 

Aggravator ( Aggerawator, or 
Haggerawator). A lock of hair 



brought down from the forehead, well 
greased, and twisted in a spiral on the 
temple, either toward the ear, or con- 
versely toward the outer corner of the 
eye. Usually in pi., once an aid to 
beauty : now rare. English synonyms : 
bell-ropes ; beau-catchers ; cobbler's- 
knots ; cowlicks ; lore-locks ; Newgate 
knockers ; number sixes ; spit-curls. 

Agitator. 1. In Eng. Hist., an 
agent, one who acts for others ; a name 
given to the agents or delegates of the 
private soldiers in the Parliamentary 
Army, 1647-9 ; in which use it varied 
with" Adjutator (O. E. D.). J. A. H. 
Murray. Careful investigation satisfies 
me that Agitator was the actual title, 
and Adjutator originally only a bad 
spelling of soldiers familiar with 
Adjutants and the Adjutors of 1641.] 
2. A bell-rope, or knocker. To agitate 
the, communicator, to ring the bell. 

Agogare. Be quick ! a warning 
signal (New York Slang Dictionary). 

Agony. To pile up (or on) the 
agony, to exaggerate, use the tallest 
terms in lieu of the simplest, cry Hell! 
when all you mean is Goodness 
gracious ! : as a newspaper when 
writing up murder, divorce, and other 
sensations. Also to agonize. Hence 
Agony-piler, a player in sensational 
parts: see Agony-column. (1857.) 

Agony-column. A special column 
in newspapers devoted to harrowing 
advertisements of missing friends and 
private business : orig. the second 
column of the Times. (1870.) 

Agree. To agree like pickpockets 
in a fair, to agree not at all. Other 
similes of the kind are, To agree like 
bells, they want nothing but hang- 
ing ; and To agree like cats and 
dogs (or like harp and harrow). 

Agricultural- implement A 
spade ; call a spade a spade and not 
an agricultural implement, a direct 
call to very plain speech. 

Aground (Grose). Stuck fast ; 
stopped; at a loss; ruined; like a boat 
or vessel aground. [This accepted 
figurative use of the nautical phrase was 
rare prior to the nineteenth century.] 

Algiers (The). The 1st battalion 
of The Royal Irish Fusiliers, late The 
87th Foot [At Barrosa they captured 
the Eagle of the 8th French Light 
Infantry, a fact now commemorated in 
one of the distinctive badges of the 

regiment, viz. An Eagle with the 
figure 8 below.] 

Aim. (B. E.) Endeavour or 
Design ... he has missed his Aim 
or end.* 

Ain't (Hain't or An't). That is, 
are not, am not, is not, have not, 
[0. E. D., in the popular dialect of 
London, Cockney speech in Dickens, 
etc.] See A'nt* (1701.) 

Air. Castles in the air (the tines, 
in Spain, etc.), generic for (1) the 
impossible, (2) imagination, and (3) 
hope : see infra. To build castle*, 

(1) to attempt the impossible; 

(2) to dream of visionary project*, 
indulge in idle dreams ; and (3) to be 
sanguine of success. Hence in the air, 
(1) uncertain, in doubt, and (2) 
anticipated (in men's minds) a* 
likely ; air-built, chimerical ; air-castle, 
the land of dreams and fancies; 
air-monger, a dreamer : see Spain. 
Analogous phrases [avowedly generic, 
and inserted in this place because as 
convenient as any other : the senses, 
too, must obviously sometimes over- 
lap]. 1. (the impossible), to square 
the circle, wash a blackamore white, 
skin a flint, make a silk purse out of a 
sow's ear, make bricks without straw, 
weave a rope of sand, ex tract sunbeams 
from cucumbers, set the Thames on 
fire, milk a he-goat into a sieve, catch 
a weasel asleep, be in two places 
at once, plough the air, wash the 
Ethiopian, measure a twig, demand a 
tribute of the dead, teach a pig to play 
on a flute, catch the wind in a net, 
change a fly into an elephant, take the 
spring from the year, put a rope in 
the eye of a needle, draw water with 
a sieve, number the waves ; also 
(French) prendre la lune avec Us dents ; 
rompre Farguille auge nou. 2. ( imagina- 
tion), to have maggots, or whimseys ; 
to see an air-drawn dagger, the flying 
Dutchman, the great sea-serpent, the 
man in the moon ; to dream of Utopia, 
Atlantis, the happy valley, the isles of 
the West, the millennium, of fairyland, 
the land of Prester John, the kingdom 
of Micomicon ; to set one's wits to 
work, strain (or crack) one's invention, 
rack (ransack, or cudgel) one's brains. 
3. (hope), to seek the pot of gold (Fr. 
pot au lait), dream of Alnaachar, live 
in a fool's paradise ; see a bit of 
blue sky, the silver lining in the cloud, 
the bottom of Pandora's box, catch at 




a straw, hope against hope, reckon 
one's chickens before they are hatched. 
Air of a face or Picture (B. E., 1696), 
the Configuration and Consent of Parts 
in each. For this 1 8th century quots. 
are given in 0. E. Z>.] To air one's 
vocabulary, to talk for phrasing's sake, 
flash the gab (q.v.). [One of the wite 
of the time of George IV., asked 
what was going on in the House of 
Commons, answered that Lord Castle- 
reagh was airing his vocabulary.] To 
air one's heels, to loiter, hang about : 
see Cool and Heels. 

Air-and-exercise. (1) A whipping 
at the cart's tail ; shoving the tumbler 
(q.v.). Also (2) the revolving pillory ; 
and (3), penal servitude (in America, 
a short term of imprisonment) (Grose). 

Airing. See Out. 

Air-line. See Bee-line. 

Airy (B. E.), Light, brisk, pleasant. 
. . . He is an Airy Fellow. 

Ajax (or Jakes). A privy ; a Jakes 
(q.v.): Sir John Harrington, in 1596, 
published his celebrated tract, called 
The metamorphosis of Ajax, by 
which he meant the improvement of 
a jakes, or necessary, by forming it 
into what we now call a water-closet, 
of which Sir John was clearly the 
inventor. Also a rm of abuse 

Akerman's Hotel. Newgate 
prison. [The governor's name was 
Akerman, c. 1787.] 

Akeybo (Hotten). A slang phrase 
used in the following manner: He 
beats akeybo, and akeybobeat the devil. 

A-la-Mort. See Amort. 

Albany Beef. The flesh of the 
sturgeon. [Some parts of the fish have 
a resemblance, in colour, and taste, to 
beef : caught in large numbers as far 
up the Hudson River as Albany.] 

Albertopolis. The Kensington 
Gore district : out of compliment to 
the late Prince Consort, who was closely 
identified with the Albert Hall and the 
Exhibition buildings of 1862. 

Albonized. Whitened [L, albus], 

Alderman. 1. A half -crown, 2s. 
6d. : see Rhino. 2. A long clay pipe ; 
a churchwarden (q.v.). 3. A roasted 
turkey garnished with sausages ; the 
latter are supposed to represent the 
gold chain worn by these magistrates. 
4. A jemmy (q.v.) : sometimes alder- 
man jemmy : a weightier tool is the 
Lord Mayor (q.v.). 5. (Felsted). A 

qualified swimmer. [The Alders, a 
deep pool in the Chelmer : see 
Farmer, Public School Word Book.'] 
Blood and guts alderman : see Blood 
and guts. 

Alderman Lushington. Alder- 
man Lushington is concerned (or he has 
been voting for the Alderman), drunk. 

Alderman's Pace. A leisurely 
walking, slow gate (Cotgrave). 

Aldgate. Draught on the pump at 
Aldgate, a worthless bill of exchange 

Ale. (1) A merry-making; and 
occasion for drinking. There were 
bride-ales, church-ales, clerk-ales, give- 
ales, lamb-ales, leet-ales, Midsummer- 
ales, Scot-ales, Whitsun-ales, and 
several more. (2) An ale-house. Hence 
alecie (or alecy), drunkenness ; ale- 
blown (ale-washed or alecied), drunk ; 
ale-draper (whence ale-drapery), an 
inn-keeper (Grose : of. ale-yard) ; ale- 
spinner, a brewer ; ale-knight (ale-stake, 
or ale-toast), a tippler, pot-companion ; 
ale-post, a maypole (Grose); ale-passion, 
a headache ; ale-pock, an ulcered grog- 
blossom (q.v.) ; ale-crummed, grogshot 
in the face ; ale-swilling, tippling, etc. 
(1362). (3) In pi., Messrs S. Allsopp 
and Sons Limited Shares. See Adam's 

Alexander. 1. To hang. [Rogers : 
From the harsh and merciless manner 
in which Sir Jerome Alexander, an Irish 
judge (1660-1674) and founder of the 
Alexander Library at Trinity College, 
Dublin, carried out the duties of his 
office.] 2. To extol as an Alexander 
the Great. (1700.) 

Alexandra Limp. An affected 
lameness ; cf . Grecian bend and Roman 

Alfred David. An affidavit : also 
affidavy, davy, and (occasionally) after- 

Algerine. (1) A manager-baiter, 
espec. when the ghost (q.v.) will not 
walk (q.v.). Also (2) a petty borrower. 

Alive. Alive occurs as an intensive 
and expletive : e.g. alive and kicking, 
very sprightly, all there (q.v.) ; also all 
alive ; man (heart, or sakes) alive ! (an 
emphatic address) ; to look alive, to 
make haste ; all alive, slovenly made 
(of garments). 

All. In pi., belongings : spec, tools : 
also awls : see Bens. Hence to pack 
up one's alls ; ( 1 ) to begone, to desist ; 
(2) see All-nations. The five aMn, & 



country sign, representing five human 
figures, each having a motto under him 
the first is a king in his regalia ; his 
motto, 1 govern all : tho second, a 
bishop in pontificals ; motto, I pray for 
all : third, a lawyer in his gown ; motto, 
I plead for all : fourth, a soldier in his 
regimentals, fully accoutred ; motto, I 
fight for all : fifth, a poor countryman 
with his scythe and rake ; motto, I pay 
for all (Grose). At all ! The cry of 
a gamester full of cash and spirit, mean- 
ing that he will play for any sums the 
company may choose to risk against 
him (HaUiwell). Alfa quiet on the, 
Potomac, a period of rest, enjoyment, 
peace. [The phrase dates from the 
Civil. War; its frequent repetition in the 
bulletins of the War Secretary made it 
ridiculous to the public.] Phrases and 
colloquialisms. All about in one's head, 
light-headed ; all about it, the whole of 
the matter ; all-around, thorough, all 
round (q.v.) ; all at sea, uncertain, 
vague ; all face, naked ; on all fours, 
fairly, equally, exactly ; all holiday at 
Peckham, hungry, done for ; all in 
(Stock Exchange), slow, fiat (q.v.) : of 
a market when there is a disposition to 
sell ; whence, all out, improving ; all 
over, thoroughly, entirely, exactly ; all 
round my hat, queer, all-overish (q.v.) : 
That's all round my hat, Bosh ! spicy 
as all round my hat, sensational ; all 
serene, all's well, O.K. You know 
what I'm after ; all up with, finished, 
done for ; all T.H., of the best, very 
good indeed (tailors'), all there (q.v.). 
See also Alive ; All-nations ; Along ; 
Beat ; Betty Martin ; Blue ; Bandy ; 
Caboose ; Cheek ; Dickey ; Fly ; 
Gammon ; Gay ; Go ; Heap ; Hollow ; 
Hough ; Jaw ; Lombard-street ; Mops- 
and- brooms ; Mouth ; Out ; Pieces ; 
Sheep ; Shop ; Shoot ; Skittles ; Smash ; 
Smoke; There; Up; Way; Way- 

Allacompain. Rain: also alacom- 
pain, alicumpane, elecampain : cf. 
France and Spain. 

All- (or I'm-) afloat. A coat. 

All- bones. A thin bony person. 

Alleviator. A drink, refreshment : 
see Go. 

Alley (Ally or Alay). A superior 
kind of marble. [Alabaster, of which 
they are sometimes made.] Also Ally- 
tor (or taw) : cf. stoney (q.v.) blood- 
alley, and commoney (q.v.). (1720.) 

The Alley, Change Alley : cf. House, 
Lane, Street, etc. (1720.) 

All - fired. A general intensive : 
e.g. oil-fired (violent) abuse ; an all- 
fired (tremendous) noise ; an all-fired 
(very great) hurry, etc. Also as adv. 
unusually, excessively. 

All-get-out That beats all-get-out, 
a retort to any extravagant story of 

All-harbour-light All right 

Allicholly. Melancholy, solemn- 
cholly (q.v.). (1595.) 

All Nations. 1. The tap-droppings 
of spirts and malt liquors : also alls, or 
all sorts (Grose). 2. A parti-coloured 
or patched garment ; a Joseph's coat 

All-night- man. A body-snatcher ; 
a resurrectionist (q.v.). 

Allot To allot upon, to count upon, 
reckon (q.v.), calculate (q.v.). (1816.) 

All-out A bumper, carouse. Hence 
to drink all out, to drain a bumper. 

All-overish. An indefinite feeling 
of apprehension or satisfaction. Also 
to feel all over alike, and touch nowhere, 
to feel confusedly happy. Also as subs. 

All-over-pattern. A term used 
to denote a design in which the whole 
of a field is covered with ornament in 
contradistinction to such as have units 
only at intervals, leaving spaces of the 
ground between them. 

Allow (Harrow). A boy's weekly 
allo wance. Also, to admit, declare, in- 
tend, think. (1580.) 

All-round (Amer. All-around). 
Generally capable, adaptable, or in- 
clusive ; affecting all alike : e.g. an all- 
round (average) rent ; an all-round 
( thorough ) scamp; an all-round cricketer, 
one good alike at batting, bowling, and 
fielding. Hence all-rounder. 

All-rounder. 1. A shirt collar; 
spec, one the same height all round the 
neck, meeting in front, or (as in clerical 
collars) at the back. (1857.) 2. See 

Allslops. Allsopp and Sons' ale. 
[At one time their brew, formerly 
of the finest quality, had greatly de- 

All-sorts. See All-nations. 

Allspice. A grocer. 

All-standing. Fully dressed: 
hence to turn in all standing, to go to 
bed in one's clothes. Also brought up 
all-standing, taken unawares. 


Alma Mater. 


Alma Mater. Originally (and pro- 
perly) one' s University; now applied to 
any place of training ; school, college, 
or University. (1701.) 

Alman-comb. The four fingers and 
the thumb : see Welsh-comb. 

Almighty. An intensive : mighty, 
great, exceedingly. (1824.) 

Almighty- gold (-money, or 
[American] -dollar). The power or 
worship of money ; Mammon. (1616.) 

Almond -for- a- parrot. A trifle 
to amuse a silly person. (1529.) 

Aloft. To go aloft, to die: see Hop 
the twig. (1692.) To come aloft, to 
vault, play tricks: as a tumbler. ( 1624. ) 

Along of. On account of, owing 
to, pertaining to, about : also (for- 
merly) along on. [The 0. E. D. traces 
the phrase back to Anglo-Saxon times.] 

Along-shore (or Longshore) Boy 
(or Man). A landsman (Orose). 

Aloud. An intensive : e.g. to talk 
aloud, to rave ; to think aloud, to talk ; 
to walk aloud, to run ; to stink aloud, 
to overpower. 

Alphabet. Through the alphabet, 
completely, first to last. 

Alsatia. 1. Whitefriars : a dis- 
trictadjoining the Temple, between the 
Thames and Fleet Street. [Formerly 
thesiteof a Carmelite convent (founded 
1241) and possessing certain privileges 
of sanctuary. These were confirmed by 
a charter of James I. in 1608, where- 
after the district speedily became a 
haunt of rascality in general, a Latin- 
ised form of Alsace having been jocu- 
larly conferred on it as a debateable 
land. Abuses, outrage, and riot led to 
the abolition of its right of sanctuary 
in 1697. Also Alsatia the higher. 
Whence Alsatia the lower, the liberties 
of the Mint in Southwark ; Alsatian, a 
rogue, debtor, or debauchee ; a resident 
in Alsatia : also, roguish, debauched ; 
Alsatia phrase, a canting term (B. E. 
and Grose). [See Fortunes of Nigel, 
chaps, xvi. and xvii.]. (1688). 2. 
Hence any rendezvous or asylum for 
loose characters or criminals, where im- 
munity from arrest is tolerably certain; 
a disreputable locality : the term has 
sometimes been applied (venomously) 
to the Stock Exchange. Alsatian, an 
adventurer; a Bohemian. (1834.) 

Alt. In alt, in the clouds ; high- 
flying ; dignified. \Altissimo, a musical 
termT] Cf. Altitude. (1748.) 

Altemal (or Altumal). Altogether. 

(1696.) Also as intj., cut it short, 
stow it (q.v.), stash it (q.v.). 
\p. E. D. : Lat. altum, the deep, i.e. 
the sea and AL. Dutch altermal.] 

Alter. To alter the Jeff's click, to 
make up a garment without regard 
to the cutter's chalkings or instruc- 

Altham. A wife : Old Cant. 

Altitude. In one's altitudes, gen- 
eric for high-mindedness. (1 ) In lofty 
mood ; (2) in high spirits ; (3) hoity- 
toity ; and (4) drunk (B. E. and Grose) ; 
see Screwed. (1616.) 

Altocad. A paid member of the 
choir who takes alto (Winchester Col- 

Altogether. A whole ; a tout-en- 
semble. (1677.) The altogether, nudity ; 
in the altogether nude : popularised 
byDu Maurier' s novel and play, Trilby. 

Alybbeg. See Lybbege. 

Alycompaine. See Allacompam. 

Amazon. 1. A masculine woman ; 
a vigaro. Also (the adjectival pro- 
ceded the figurative substantive usage) 
Amazonian, manlike, bold, quarrel- 
some. (1595.) 2. The Queen: chess. 

Ambassador. A trick to duck 
some ignorant fellow, or landsman, fre- 
quently played on board ship in the 
warm latitudes. It is thus managed : a 
large tub is filled with water, and two 
stools placed on each side of it. Over 
the whole is thrown a tarpaulin, or old 
sail, which is kept tight by two persons 
seated on the stools, who are to repre- 
sent the king and queen of a foreign 
country. The person intended to be 
ducked plays the ambassador, and after 
repeating a ridiculous speech dictated 
to him, is led in great form up to the 
throne, and seated between the king 
and queen, who rise suddenly as soon 
as he is seated, and the unfortunate 
ambassador is of course deluged in the 
tub (Grose). 

Ambassador of Commerce. A 
commercial traveller ; bagman (q.v.). 

Ambes-ace. See Ames-ace. 

Ambia. Chewed-tobacco juice: also 
the intensely strong nicotine, or thick 
brown substance which forms in pipes. 
I have always supposed that it is 
merely a Southern variation of amber 
which exactly represents its colour. 

Ambidexter (or Ambodexter). (1) 
A venal juror or lawyer, one taking a 



AngeT 8 OH. 

fee from both sides. Hence (2) a 
(1 on Me - dealer, vicar of Bray (q.v.). 
Aluo, deceitful, tricky. (1532.) 

Ambree. Mary Ambree, generic 
for a woman of strength and spirit 


Ambrol. Ambrol, among the Tan 
for Admiral (B. E.). 

Ambush. Fraudulent weights and 
measured. [A punning allusion : to lie 
in wait Le. lying weight.] 

Amen. To finish a matter (as amen 
does a prayer), approve, ratify. To say 
Yet and Amen, to agree to everything 
(Grose) ; amener, a general conformist. 

Arhen-bawler (-curler or -snorter). 
A parish clerk ; also (military) amen- 
wallah: see Black-coat (<?ra*e). (1704.) 

Amerace. Near at hand, within 

American Shoulders. A particu- 
lar cut in the shoulders of a coat : 
they are padded and shaped to give the 
wearer a broad and burly appearance. 

American Tweezers. An instru- 
ment to unlock a door from the outside, 
nippers (q.v.). 

Ames-ace (Ambs-ace, Ambes-ace, 
etc. ). ( 1 ) Orig. and lit. the throw of two 
aoee, the lowest cast at dice. Hence 
(2) misfortune, bad luck, nothing. 
Within ames-ace, nearly, very near 
(Grose): see Ace. (1297.) 

Aminadab. A quaker : in contempt 
(Grose). (1700.) 

Ammuni tion. 1 . Originally applied 
to every requisite for soldiers' use, as 
ammunition bread, shoes, hat, etc. : 
now only of powder, shot, shell, and 
the like. Whence colloquialisms such 
as ammunition face, a warlike face ; 
ammunition wife, a soldier's trull 
(Grose) ; ammunition leg, a wooden leg, 
etc. (1658.) 2. Bum-fodder (q.v.). 
Mouth-ammunition, food : cf. Belly- 
timber. (1694.) 

Amoret (or Amorette). (1) Ori- 
ginally a sweetheart : spec. (2) a mis- 
tress. [O. E. D. : Eng. Amoret having 
become obsolete, the word has recently 
been re-adopted from the French ; see 
sense 4.] Whence (3) the concomitants 
of love : e. g. a love-knot, a love- sonnet, 
love- books, and (in pi.) love-tricks, 
dalliances (Cotyrave). (1400.) (4) 
Amourette, a love-affair, an intrigue. 

Ampersand. 1. The posteriors. 
2. The sign & ; ampersand. Vari- 

ants : And - pussy - and ; Ann Passy 
Ann ; anpasty ; andpaasy ; anparse ; 
apersie (a.v.) ; per-se ; ampassy ; am- 
passy-ana ; ampene-and ; ampus-and ; 
am pussy and ; ampazad ; amsiam ; 
ampus - end ; apperse - and ; empersi- 
and amperzed ; and zumzy-zan. 

Amputate. To be off, to cut 
(q.v.) and run, also to amputate one's 
mahogany (or timber) : see Bunk and 

Amuse. To cheat, beguile, deceive. 
O. E. D. . . . Not in regular use, 
before 1600. . . . the usual sense in 
17th and 18th centuries] : spec. (B. E. 
and Grose), to throw dust in one's 
eyes by diverting one, to fling dust or 
snuff in the eyes of the person intended 
to be robbed ; also to invent some 
plausible tale to delude shop-keepers 
and others, thereby to put them off 
their guard. Whence amuser, a cheat 
a snuff - throwing thief ; one that 
deceives (Ash and Grose). (1480.) 

Anabaptist. A thief caught in the 
act and disciplined at the pump or in 
the horse-pond (Grose). 

Anchor. To sit down. To let go 
an anchor to the windward of the law, 
to keep within the letter of the law. 

Ancient. See Antient. 

Ancient Mariner. A rowing don : 
row as in bough (Oxf. Univ.). 

Andrew. 1. A broadsword ; also 
Andrew Ferrara: cf. Gladstone. [Cosmo, 
Andrea, and Gianantonio Ferara, three 
Italian cutlers of Belluno in Venetia.] 
(1618.) 2. A body-servant, valet : cf. 
Abigail (1618.) 3. A ship, whether 
trading or man-of-war : also Andrew 
Millar, and (Grose) Andrew Miller's 
lugger. Among Australian smugglers, a 
revenue cutter. (1591.) See Merry- 

Angel. A child riding on the 
shoulders : also Flying-angeL Angd 
on horseback, oysters rolled in bacon, 
and served on crisp toast, very hot. 

Angel Altogether. A toper. 

Angelic (or Angelica). A young 
unmarried woman. (1821.) 

Angeliferous. Angelic, super- 
excellent. (1837.) 

Angel's-food. Strong ale. (1597.) 

Angel's Footstool. An imaginary 
square sail, topping the sky-scraper 
(q.v.), the moon-sail (q.v.), and the 
cloud-cleaner (q.v.). 

Angel's Gear. Female attire. 

Angel's Oil. A bribe : also oil of 


Angel's Suit. 


angels. [Angel, a gold coin, value 
6s. 8d., first struck by Ed. IV. in 

Angel's Suit. A combination 
garment for men : the trousers were 
buttoned to coat and waistcoat made 
in one. 

Angel's Whisper. The call to 
defaulter's drill : usually extra fatigue 

Angle. To get by stratagem, fish 
(q.v.) ; and (in an absolute sense, see 
Angler) to cheat, steal. As subs., (1) a 
lure or wile ; (2) a victim : hence a 
simpleton, one easily imposed on ; and 
(3) a cunning or specious fellow, an 
adventurer. To angle one on, to lure. 
(1535.) To angle for farthings, to beg 
out of a prison-window, with a cap, 
or box, let down at the end of a long 
string. To angle with a silver hook, ( 1 ) 
to bribe, and (2) buy one's catch in the 

Angler. ' Angglers be peryllous and 
most wicked Knaues . . . they custom- 
ably carry with them a staffe of v. or vi. 
foote long, in which within one ynch of 
the tope thereof, ys a lytle hole ... in 
which they putte an yron hoke, and 
with the same they wyll plucke vnto 
them quickly anything that they may 
reche ther with ' (Harmon). To angle, 
to steal; Angling-cove, a fence (q.v.) 
(B. E. and Grose). 

Anglomaniacs. A club in Boston ; 
its members are opposed to everything 

Angry Boy. See Boy and Roaring- 

Angular Party. A gathering of an 
odd number of people ; three, seven, 
thirteen, etc. 

Animal. 1. A term of contempt ; 
a fool he is a mere Animal, he is a 
very silly Fellow (B. E., c. 1696). 2. 
A new cadet at the United States 
Military Academy, West Point ; cf. 
Snooker. See Whole. 

Animule. A mule. A portmant- 
eau-word (q.v.): i.e. animal-mule.] 

Ankle. To sprain one's ankle, to be 
got with child (Grose) : Fr., avoir mal 
aux genoux. 

Ankle-beater. A boy-drover : 
they tended their animals with long 
wattles, and beat them on the legs to 
avoid spoiling or bruising the flesh : 
also penny-boys (q.v.), because they 
received one penny per head as re- 

Ankle -spring Warehouse. The 
stocks. (1780.) 

Ananias. A liar. Hence Ananias- 
brand, an imposture ; Ananias-club, an 
imaginary company of liars ; to play 
Ananias and Sapphira, to keep back 
part of the swag (q.v.). 

Anna Maria. A fire. 

Anne. See Bacon,Sight, and Thumb. 

Annex. To steal, convey (q.v.). 

Anno Domini Ship. An old- 
fashioned whaler (Century). 

Annual. A holiday taken once in 
twelve months : cf. annual, a mass 
said, rent paid, or a book issued yearly. 

Anodyne. Death : also to kill. 
Anodyne necklace (or collar), a halter 
(Grose) : see Horse - collar, Ladder, 
and Nubbing-cheat. (1636.) 

Anoint. 1. To flatter, butter (q.v.). 
(1400.) 2. To bribe, grease the palm 
(q.v.); creesh the loof. (1584.) 3. 
To beat, thrash soundly ; also, anoint 
with the sap of a hazel rod (North) : 
cf. strap-oil. Whence anointed, well 
drubbed (see next entry). (1500.) 

Anointed. Pre-eminent in rascality. 
But in a French MS. ... is an 
account of a man who had received a 
thorough and severe beating: Quianoit 
este si bien oignt. The English Version 
[Early English Text Society] translates 
this : ' Which so well was anoynted 
indeed. From this it is clear that to 
anoint a man was to give him a sound 
drubbing, and that the word was so used 
in the fifteenth century. Thus, an 
anointed rogue means either one who 
has been well thrashed or who has 
deserved to be ' (Skeat ). 

Anonyma. A fashionable whore 
(c. 1 SCO- 60). 

Another. You're another, a tu 
quoque : i.e. another liar, fool, thief 
any imaginable term of abuse : see 
Nail. (1534.) 

Anotherguess (Anothergets, 
Anothergaines, Anothergates, 
Anotherguise, Anotherkins). 
That is, another sort, kind, manner, 
fashion, etc. [0. E. D. : A phonetic re- 
duction from anothergete ((or another- 
gates).] Hence anotherguess sort of 
man (woman, etc.), one up to snuff 
(q.v.). 1580.) 

Another Place. The House of 
Commons (Lord Granville). 

Anser. Anser is Latin for Goose 
(Brandy, Candle, Fish, etc.). A pun- 
ning catch or retort. (1612.) 




Anshum-scranchum. A scramble: 
e.g. when provision is scanty, and each 
one is almost obliged to scramble for 
what he can get, it is said to bearuhum- 
tcranchum work (HalliweU). 

An't (Aint). A contraction for are 
not ; am not ; is not ; has not ; have 
not (han't) : chiefly Cockney ; cf. 
shan't, won't, can't : see Ain't Also, 
and may it (1612.) 

Ant. In an anfs foot, in a short time. 

Antagonize. To oppose a ball, 
bill, measure, etc. [Properly, only of 
contention or opposition between 
forces or things of the same kind.] 

Antarctic. To go to the opposite 
extreme: cf. lord, tree, etc. (1647.) 

Amechamber. (B. E., e. 1696.) 
Forerooms for receiving of Visite, as 
the back and Drawing-rooms arc for 
Lodgings, anciently called Dining- 
rooms. [Not in use in this sense until 
18th century, the earliest reference in 
O. E. D. being 1767 : the orig. meaning, 
the room admitting to the royal bed- 

An tern. See Autem. 

Anthony. ( 1 ) To knock Anthony, to 
walk knock-kneed, cuff Jonas (q.v.). 
Hence Anthony Cuffin, a knock-kneed 
man. Also (2) to keep warm by beat- 
ing one's sides : see Beating the Booby 
(Grose). Anthony (or Tantony pig), 
see Saint and Tantony. St. Anthony's 
fire, Erysipelas : from the tradition 
that those who sought the intercession 
of St Anthony recovered from the 
pestilential erysipelas called the sacred 
fire which proved extremely fatal in 
1089 (Brewer). 

Antidote. A very homely 
Woman (B. E.). 

Antient. At sea, for Ensign or 
Flag (B. E.) [0. E. D.: a corrup- 
tion of Ensign, confounded with 
ancien.] Cf. Ancient Pistol, Othello's 
Ancient (i.e. standard bearers). 

Antimony. Type. [Antimony is a 
constituent part] 

Antrums. See Tantrum. 

Anvil. On the anvil, in prepara- 
tion, in hand, on the stocks (the 
usual modern equivalent) [an iron] 
in the fire. Hence to anvil, fashion, 
prepare. (1607). 

Anvil-beater (-thresher, 
-whacker, etc.). A smith. (1677.) 

Any. Any other man, a call to 
order : addressed to a prosy or a dis- 
cursive speaker, or when from lack of 

continuity in thought the same idea is 
repeated in synonymous terms. I'm 
not taking any, a more or less sarcastic 
refusal, Not for Joe. 

Anybody. An ordinary individual : 
in depreciation ; cf. Nobody, Some- 
body, etc. (1826.) 

Anyhow. All anyhow, carelessly ; 
at random. Anyhow you can fix it, a 
form of acquiescence : e.g. I don't 
know if you'll succeed, but anyhow 
you can fix it 

Any-racket. A penny-faggot 

Anything. Like (or as) anything, 
an indefinite but comprehensive 
standard of measurement or value, 
like one o'clock (old boots, winking, 
hell, etc.). (1542.) 

Anythingarian. An indifferentist, 
Jack-of-both-sides. Hence anything- 
arianism, the creed of All things to all 
men. (1704.) 

Anywhere. Anywhere down there ! 
A workroom catch - phrase on any- 
thing falling to the floor. 

Apart Apart, severally, asunder 
(B. E., e. 1696). [Except for an an- 
ticipation by Langland not in use till 
long after B. E.'s time.] 

Apartments. 1. Apartments to 
let, empty-headed, foolish, crazy : see 
Balmy. 2. Said of a widow, also of a 
woman given to prostitution (Ray and 
Or ose.) 

Ape. 1. An antic, gull. Hence 
God's ape, a natural fool ; to play the 
ape, (1) to mimic ; and (2) to play the 
fool ; to put an ape into one's hood (cap, 
or hand), to befool, dupe : also to make 
one his ape. As adj. (or apish), foolish : 
hence ape-drunk, maudlin ; ape-u-are, 
counterfeit ware. (1230.) 2. An 
endearment (Malone) : cf. monkey. 
( 1595. ) 3. In pL, Atlantic and North- 
western First Mortgage Bonds. To 
lead apes in hell, to die unmarried : of 
both sexes. Hence ape-leader, an old 
maid, or bachelor (Grose). (1579.) To 
say an ape's paternoster, to chatter with 
cold. Fr., dire des pate-nitres de singe. 
(1611.) Phrases. The ape claspeth her 
young so long that at last she killeth 
them ; An ape is an ape, a varlet's a 
varlet, Though they be clad in silk or 
scarlet ; The higher the ape goes, the 
more he shows his tail. 

A-per-se. See A. 

Aphrodisian-dame. A courtesan. 

A-pigga-back (or A-pisty-poll). 
See Angel and Pick-a-back. 




Apostles (Twelve Apostles). 
Formerly when the Poll, or ordinary 
B.A. degree list, was arranged in order 
of merit, the last twelve were nick- 
named The Twelve Apostles ; also The 
Chosen Twelve, and the last, St. Poll or 
St. Paul a punning allusion to 1 Cor. 
xv. 9, For I am the least of the 
Apostles, that am not meet to be called 
an Apostle. The list is now arranged 
alphabetically and in classes. At 
Columbia College, D.C., the last 
twelve on the B.A. list actually receive 
the personal names of the Apostles. 
(1785.) To manoeuvre the apostles, to 
borrow of one to pay another, to rob 
Peter to pay Paul (Grose). 

Apostle's Grove. St. John's 
Wood ; also the Grove of the Evan- 

Apothecary. Formerly a term of 
contempt : prior to 1617 the business 
of grocer and chemist was combined, 
and it was not till 1815 that the status 
of an apothecary, as a medical practi- 
tioner, was legally held by licence and 
examination of the Apothecaries Com- 
pany. Hence To talk like an apothe- 
cary, to talk nonsense, use (Grose) 
hard or gallipot words : from the as- 
sumed gravity and affectation of know- 
ledge generally put on by the gentlemen 
of this profession, who are commonly 
as superficial in their learning as they 
are pedantic hi their language. Also 
Apothecaries' -Latin, gibberish, dog- 
(katchen-, or raw-) Latin (q.v.); 
Apothecaries' bitt, a long undetailed 
account : cf. Bawdy-house reckoning. 
Likewise proverbial sayings : A broken 
apothecary, a new doctor ; Apothe- 
caries would not give pills in sugar 
unless they were bitter. 

Appii (The) (Durham University). 
The Three Tuns : a celebrated Durham 
Inn. [A mis-reading of Actsxxviii. 15.] 

Apple. In pi., a woman's paps : 
also Apple-dumpling-shop (Grose), the 
bosom. (1638.) Phrases and proverbial 
expressions : One rotten apple decays 
a bushel ; To take an eye for an 
apple ; As like as an apple is like 
an oyster ; There's small choice in 
rotten apples ; Won with an apple, 
lost with a nut ; How we apples 
swim (What a good time we're 
having ; a reference to the fable of 
a posse of horse-droppings floating 
down the river with a company of 
apples). (1340.) See Adam's Apple. 

Apple-cart. The human body : cf. 
Beer-barrel. To upset one's apple-cart, 
to floor a man, to thwart (Grose). Also, 
to upset the old woman's apple-cart ; 
to upset the apple-cart and spill the 
gooseberries (or peaches). 

Apple-pie Bed. A bed made 
apple-pie fashion, like what is called 
a turnover apple-pie, where the sheets 
are so doubled as to prevent any one 
from getting at his length between 
them : a common trick played by 
frolicsome country lasses on their 
sweethearts, male relations, or visitors 
(Grose). Fr., lit en portefeuille. 

Apple-pie Day (Winchester). The 
day on which Six-and-six (q.v.) was 
played. It was the Thursday after the 
first Tuesday in December. So called 
because hot apple-pies were served on 
gomers (q.v.) in College for dinner. 

Apple-pie Order. The perfection 
of neatness and exactness. (1813). 

Apples-and-pears. A flight of stairs. 

Apple Squire. (1) A harlot's con- 
venience. Hence (2) a kept-gallant 
(see Squire, Bully, and Fancy-man) ; 
(3) a wittol (q.v.) ; and (4) a pimp 
(q.v.). Also Pippin-squire, Squire of 
the body, Apple-John, Apple-monger, 
Apron-man, and Apron-squire. Apple- 
wife, bawd. Occasionally Apron-squire, 
groomsman. ( 1 500. ) 

Approach. To know carnally. 
Hence approachable, wanton. 

April. This month the poetical 
type of verdure (see Green) and in- 
constancy is frequently found in con- 
temptuous combination. Thus April- 
fool (or Scots April-gowk), cuckoo : 
Fr., poisson d'Avril), one who is sent 
on a sleeveless errand (for strap -oil, 
pigeon's milk, the squad umbrella, 
the diary of Eve's grandmother, etc.), 
or who is the victim of asinine sport on 
April-Fools' (or All Fools') Day (1st 
April). This has given rise to the sar- 
castic April-day, a wedding-day ; and 
April-gentleman, a newly-married hus- 
band. Also April-fish, a pimp (Fr., 
maquereau) ; April-squire, a new-made 
or upstart squire. ( 1592. ) To smell of 
April and May, a simile of youth and 
courtship. (1596.) Also proverbial say- 
ings : A windy March and a rainy 
April make a beautiful May ; April 
showers bring forth May flowers ; 
When April blows his horn it's good 
for hay and corn ; April cling good for 
nothing ; April borrows three days 




of March, and they are ill ; A cold 
April the barn will fill ; An April 
flood carries away the frog and her 
brood ; April and May are the keys 
of the year. 

Apron. 1. A woman : generic ; cf. 
Muslin ; Petticoat ; Placket, etc. Hence 
tied to one's apron strings (or apron- 
led), ( 1 ) under petticoat - rule, hen- 
pecked ; and (2) in close attendance ; 
apron hold (or apron - string hold, or 
tenure), a life-interest in a wife's estate 
(Orose) ; apron - squire (see Apple- 
squire) ; apron - husband, a domestic 
meddler ; apron-up, pregnant, lumpy 
(q.vA Also (proverbial) : Wise as 
her mother's apron-strings, dependent 
on a mother's bidding. (1542.) 2. 
Generic for one wearing an apron : 
e.g. a shopkeeper, a waiter, a workman : 
also apron-man, apron-rogue, aproneer. 
[Spec, the Parliamentary party (many 
of whom were of humble origin) 
during the Civil War : by Cavaliers 
in contempt.] Hence (3), a cleric of 
rank, a bishop or dean (also Apron- 
and-Gaiters). As verb, to cover with 
(or as with) an apron ; and aproned, 
of the working-class, mechanic. Hence 
checkered-apron, a barber ; blue-apron 
(q.v.); green-apron, a lay-preacher; 
white-apron, a prostitute. (1592.) 

Apron-washings. Porter. 

Aqua. Water : also Aqua-pompa- 
ginis (Orose, Dog-Latin). Hence, in 
jocose combination, aquapote, aqua- 
bib (Bailey, 1731), and aquatic, a 
water-drinker; aqua -bob, an icicle. 

Aquadiente. Brandy. (1835.) 

Aquatics. (Eton). 1. The wet-bob 
(q.v.) cricket- team ; and (2) the playing 
field used by them : see Sixpenny. 

A qua- vitas. Formerly an alchemic 
term, but long popularly generic for 
ardent spirits ; brandy, whisky, etc. 
[L. water of life. Cf. French eau-de- 
vie, and Irish usquebaugh.} Hence 
aqua-vitae man, (1) a quack, and (2) a 
dram-seller. (1542.) 

Arab. (1) A young street vagrant: 
also street arab and city arab. Whence 
(2) an outcast (1848.) 

Arabian-bird. Anything unique. 
[Properly the phoenix.] Also Arabian 
nights, the fabulous, the marvellous. 

Arcadian - nightingale (or bird), 
An ass: see Nightingale. (1694.) 

Arch. 1. Properly chief, pre-emi- 

nent : hence, ( 1 ) clever, crafty, roguish 
(B. E.) ; and (2) extreme, out-and-out 
(q.v.). [0. E. D. : In modern use 
chiefly prefixed intensively to words of 
bad or odious sense.] Thus, arch- 
botcher, a clumsy patch-worker ; arch- 
fool (or dolt), an out-and-out duffer ; 
arch-knave, a rascal of parts ; arch-cove 
(or rogue), spec, the ringleader of a band 
of gipsies or thieves : whence arch- 
dell (or doxy), the same in rank among 
the female canters of gipsies (Orose) ; 
arch-whore, a bilking harlot (B. E.), 
etc. Also, sharp, Keen, splenetic : 
usually with at or upon. (1551.) 2. 
Saucy, waggish. Thus arch- (witty) 
fellow (B. IS.); arch- (pleasant) wag 
(B. E.) ; arch duke, a comical or 
eccentric fellow (Orose). (1662.) See 

Archdeacon. (Oxford). Merton 
strong ale. 

Archwif e. A masterful woman ; a 
virago. (1383.) 

Ard. Hot (Orose), ardent 

Ardelio. A busybody, meddler. 

Area-sneak (or slum). A petty 
thief : spec, one working houses by 
means of an area-gate (Grose) : see 
Sneak, Slum, and Thief. ( 1865. ) 

Arg. To argue, grumble : cf. Argle. 

Argal. Therefore, ergo : of which it 
is a corruption. As subs., a clumsy 
argument See Argle. (1602.) 

Argent. Money : generic : spec, 
silver money (Bailey) : see Gent 
Hence argentocracy, the power of 
money; Mammon (q.v.). (1500.) 

Argle. To argue disputation/sly, 
haggle, bandy words; also angle- bargle, 
argol-bargol, or argie-bargie. Whence 
argol-bargolous, quarrelsome : cf. Arg. 

Argot. The jargon, slang, or 
peculiar phraseology of a class, orig. 
that of thieves and rogues. See Slang 
and Cant Whence argotic, slangy. 

Argue. To argue out of (away, a 
dog's tail off, etc.), to get rid of by 
argument: see Talk (1713.) 

Argufy. (1) To argue, worry, 
wrangle. Whence (2) to signify, prove 
of consequence, follow as a result of 
argument Argufitr, a contentious 
talker. See Arg and Argle. (1751.) 

Aristippus. 1. Canary wine. (1627.) 
2. 'A Diet -drink, or Decoction of 
Sarsa China, etc. Sold at certain 




Coffee-houses, and drank as T ' (B. E. 
and Grose). 

Ark (or Arch). (1) A boat; a 
wherry : e.g. Let us take an Ark and 
winns, let us take a sculler (B. E. and 
Grose). Hence arkman, a waterman. 
Also (2), in Western America, a flat- 
bottomed market-produce boat (Bart- 
lett) : rarely seen since the introduction 
of steam. 3. A barrack-room chest : 
a lingering use of an old dialect 

Arkansas- toothpick. A large 
sheath knife : orig. a bowie-knife (q.v.) 

Ark-floater. An actor well ad- 
vanced in years. 

Arm. Colloquialisms are : To make 
a long arm, to exert oneself ; as long as 
one's arm, very long ; to work at arm's 
length, to do awkwardly ; one- under 
the arm (tailor's), an extra job ; in the 
arms of Murphy (or Morpheus), asleep : 
see Murphy. 

Armful. A heap, a large quantity ; 
spec, an endearment : of a bouncing 
baby, a big cuddlesome wench, etc. 

Armine. A wretched person, a 
beggar. (1605.) 

Armour. In armour, pot-valiant; 
primed (q.v.). ; full of Dutch courage 
(q.v.) : see Screwed (B. E. and Grose). 

Armpits. To work under the arm- 
pits, to escape the halter by the skin of 
one's teeth, to practise only such kinds 
of depredation as will amount, upon 
conviction, to whatever the law calls 
single, or petty, larceny ; the extent of 
punishment for which is transportation 
for seven years. [On the passing of 
Sir Samuel Romilly's Act, capital 
punishment was abolished for highway 
robberies under 40s. in value.] 

Arm- pro p. A crutch ; a wooden- 
leg (q.v.). 

Arms-and-legs. Small beer : be- 
cause there is no body in it (Grose). 

Arm - slasher (or stabber). A 
gallant who bled his arm to toast his 
mistress ; hence to dagger (or stab) 
arms to toast a lady-love. (1611.) 

Armstrong. See Captain Arm- 

Arrah. An expletive, with no 
special meaning (Grose) ; an expletive 
expressing emotion or excitement,com- 
mon in Anglo-Irish speech (0. E. D.). 
[Farquhar, who first used the term 
(1705) was of Irish birth.] 

Array. (1) To thrash, to dress 
down (q.v.); (2) to afflict, punish (q.v.) ; 
and (3) defile. Hence as subs., a drub- 
bing, pickle (q.v.), plight, a pretty 
state of affairs. (1388.) 

Arrow (or Arra). A corruption of 
e'er a, or ever a. (1750.) 

"Arry. That is Harry: a popular 
embodiment of the vulgar, rollicking, 
yet on the whole good-tempered rough 
of the metropolis. Whence 'Arriet, 
'Arry's young woman. [Popularised 
by Milliken in a series of ballads in 
Punch.] 'Arryish, vulgarly jovial. 

Arst. Asked. 

Arter. After. 

Artesian. A Gippsland (Victoria) 
brew of beer : manufactured with water 
obtained from an artesian well at Sale 
hence artesian (generic), colonial 
beer : see Cascade. 

Artful Dodger. 1. A lodger. 2. 
An expert thief : also a fellow who 
dares not sleep twice in the same place 
for fear of arrest. [The Artful Dodger, 
a character in Dickens' Oliver Twiet.\ 

Arthur. King (or Prince') Arthur. 
A sailor's game. When near the line, 
or in a hot latitude, a man who is to 
represent King Arthur, is ridiculously 
dressed, having a large wig made out 
of oakum, or some old swabs. He is 
seated on the side, or over a large vessel 
of water, and every person in turn is 
ceremoniously introduced to him, and 
has to pour a bucket of water over him. 
crying out, Hail, King Arthur ! If 
during the ceremony the person intro- 
duced laughs or smiles (to which hia 
majesty endeavours to excite him by 
all sorts of ridiculous gesticulations), he 
changes places with, and then becomes 
King Arthur, till relieved by some 
brother tar who has as little command 
over his muscles as himself (Grose) : cf. 

Artichoke. 1. A term of contempt. 
(1600.) 2. A hanging : also hearty 
choak (Grose) ; whence to have an arti- 
choke and caper sauce for breakfast, to 

Article. 1. A woman : e.g. a prime 
article (Grose), a handsome girl, a hell 
of a goer (Lex. Bal.). 2. A mildly 
contemptuous or sarcastic address : 
usually with such adjectives as pretty, 
nice, etc. Thus, You're a pretty 
article, You're a beauty (q.v.) ; 
What sort of an article do you think 


Artide of Virtue. 


you arc T What's your name when out 
for a walk? Also (HaUiweU) of a 
wretched animal. 3. In pi., a suit of 
clothes (Grose). 

Article of Virtue. A virgin. [A 
play upon virtue, and virtu.] 

Artilleryman. A drunkard : cf. 
canon, drunk, and see Lushington. 

Artist An adroit rogue, skilful 
gamester. N. Y. 8. D. 

As. See Make. 

Asia Minor. The Kensington and 
Bayswater district [Many Anglo- 
Indians reside in this locality. The 
nickname is double-barrelled, for the 
district is also the headquarters of the 
Greek community in the metropolis.] 
Cf. New Jerusalem, Black Hole, etc. 

Asinego. (1) A little ass; hence 
(2) a fool, donkey (q.v.), duffer (q.v.). 

Ask. To proclaim in church : as a 
marriage ; literally to ask for (or the) 
banns thereto. Formerly also of stray 
cattle, etc. [0. E. D. : The recognised 
expression is now to publish the 
banns ; but ask is the historical 
word.] Whence asking, an announce- 
ment in church of intended marriage 
(1461). Ask another, a jesting or con- 
temptuous retort to a question that 
one cannot, will not, or ought not, to 
answer : also Ask bogy (q.v.). 

Askew. A cup: see Skew (Barman, 

Aspasia. A harlot The name of 
one of the celebrated courtesans of 
Athens, called Heterae (iraipai), many 
of whom were highly accomplished and 
were faithful to one lover. . . . Repre- 
sentative of a fascinating courtesan, 
and more rarely, of an accomplished 

Aspen-leaf. The tongue. (1532.) 

Ass. Generic for stupidity, clumsi- 
ness, and ignorance. Hence ( 1 ) a fool : 
see Buffle. [0. E. D. : now disused in 
polite literature and speech.] Also ass- 
head : whence assheaded, stupid ; and 
assheadedness, folly. To make an ass of, 
to stultify ; to make an ass of oneself, to 
play the fool ; Your ass-ship (a mock 
title : cf. lordship). Also Proverbs and 
proverbial sayings : When a fool is 
made a bishop then a horned ass is born 
therein ( 1 400) : Perhaps thy ass can tell 
thee what thou knowest not (Nash) ; 
To wrangle for an ass's shadow 
(Thijnne) ; Go sell an ass (Topseli : a 
charge of blockishness to a dull scholar). 

Angry as an an with a squib in his 
breech (Cotgrave) ; Honey is not for 
an ass's mouth (Shdton) ; An ass 
laden with gold will go lightly uphill 
(Shdton) ; Asses have ears as well as 
pitchers (Middleton) ; He will act the 
ass's part to get some bran ( Urquhart) ; 
An ass in a lion's skin (Addison) ; 
An unlettered king is a crowned ass 
(Freeman) ; to plough with ox and ass, 
to use incongruous means ; The ass 
waggeth his ears (Cooper, 1563 : ' a 
proverbe applied to theim, whiche, 
although they lacke learnynge, yet will 
they babble and make a countenance, 
as if they knew somewhat'). 2. A 
compositor : used by pressmen : the 
tit- for- tat is pig (q.v.) : also donkey : 
Fr., mulet. 

Assassin. A breast knot, or similar 
decoration worn in front [Cen- 
tury : with allusion to its killing 

Assayes (The). The 2nd battalion 
(late 74th) Highland Light Infantry : 
for distinction at Assaye, when every 
officer present save one, was killed or 
wounded, and the battalion was re- 
duced to a mere wreck (Farmer, MH. 
Forces of Ot. and Greater Britain). 

Asses' Bridge (The). The fifth pro- 
position in the First Book of Euclid's 
Elements ; the pons asinorum. ( 1 780. ) 

Assig. An assignation (B. E. and 

Assmanship (or Asswomanship). 
The art of donkey-riding: on the model 
of horsemanship. (1800.) 

Aste. Money : generic : see Rhino 
(Nares). (1612.) 

Astronomer. A horse with a high 
carriage of the head ; a star-gazer 

At See All ; Breeches ; Hand ; 
Have ; Pickpurse ; Rest ; That ; You. 

Athanasian Wench. A forward 
girl ; Quicunque vult (q.v.) : see Tart 

Athens. The Modern Athens. (1) 
Edinburgh ; and (2) Boston, Mass, 
(also The Athens of America). 

Atlantic - ranger. A herring, a 
sea-rover (q.v.) : see Glasgow magis- 

Atkins. See Tommy Atkins. 

Atomy. 1. An anatomy, specimen, 
skeleton ; also otamy : whence (2) a 
very lean person, walking skeleton 
(1598). 2. A diminutive person, pigmy 
(1591). 3. An empty-headed indi- 



Avast I 

Atrocity. Anybody or anything 
grievously below the ordinary stand- 
ard or out of the common : e.g. a bad 
blunder, a flagrant violator of good 
taste, a very weak pun, etc. Hence 
atrocious, shockingly bad, execrable, 
and as adv. excessively. (1831.) 

Attack. A commencement of opera- 
tions ; as (jocularly) upon dinner, a 
problem, correspondence, etc. Also as 
verb. (1812.) 

Attempt. To approach a woman ; 
to attack the chastity. Hence at- 
tempter, attemptable, and other deriva- 
tives. (1593.) 

Attic. The head, brain, upper 
storey (q.v.) 

Attic-salt (style or wit). Well- 
turned phrases spiced with refined and 
delicate humour. (1633.) 

Attleborough. Pinchbeck, Brum- 
magem (q.v.). [Attleborough is cele- 
brated for its manufacture of trashy 

Attorney. 1. A knave, swindler ; 
an ancient (and still general) reproach. 
Whence attorneydom and attorneyism 
(in contempt or abuse). (1732.) 2. A 
drumstick of goose, or turkey, grilled 
and devilled : cf. Devil. (1828.) 

Attorney- General's Devil. See 

Auctioneer. To tip (or give) the 
auctioneer, to knock a man down ; 
Tom Sayers' right hand was nick- 
named the auctioneer. 

Audit-ale (or Audit). A special 
brew of ale : orig. for use on audit days. 
Univ. (1823.) 

Audley. See John Audley. 

Aufe. See Oaf. 

Auger. A prosy talker, bore (q.v.). 

Aught. A common illiteracy for 
naught, the cyper 0. 

Auld Hornie. The Devil : see 

Auld Reekie. The Old Town, 
Edinburgh; i.e. Old Smoky. (1826.) 

Auly Auly. (Win. Coll.: obsolete). 
A game played in Grass Court on 
Saturday afternoons after chapel. An 
indiarubber ball was thrown one to 
another, and everybody was obliged to 
join in. The game, though in vogue 
in 1830, was not played as late as 

Aumbes-ace. See Ames-ace. 

Aunt. 1. A bawd ; a harlot (B. E. 
and Grose) : hence (old sayings) My 
aunt will feed me, She is one of my 

aunts that made my uncle go a-begging 
(or that my uncle never got any good 
of). (1604.) 2. An endearment or 
familiar address ; also aunty : spec. (1) 
in nursery talk, a female friend of the 
family ; and (2) a matronly woman : 
hence aunthood : cf. Uncle. (1592.) 
3. (Oxford and Cambridge : obsolete.) 
The sister university. (1655.) Phrases. 
If my aunt had been my uncle what 
would have happened then ? (a retort 
on inconsequent talk) ; to go and see 
one's aunt, to go to the W.C. (see Mrs. 

Aunt Sally. A game common to 
race-courses and fairs ; a wooden head 
is mounted on a pole to form a target ; 
in the mouth is placed a clay pipe, 
which the player, standing at twenty 
or thirty yards, tries to smash. 

Au Reservoir I Au revoir. 

Aurum Potabile. That is, Drink- 
able gold ; ' a medicine made of the 
body of gold itself, totally reduced, 
without corrosive, into a blood -red, 
gummie, or honylike substance ' (Phil- 
lips) ; also, some rich Cordial Liquor, 
with pieces of leaf gold in it (Kersey). 

Australian Flag. A rucked - up 

Australian Grip. A hearty hand- 

Autem (Autum, Autom, or An- 
tem). A church (Harman, B. E., 
Grose). As adj., married ; also in 
numerous combinations, thus : autem- 
bawler (-cackler, -jet or -prickear), a 
parson : spec, of Dissenters ; autem- 
cackle tub, (1) a dissenting meeting- 
house, (2) a pulpit ; autum-cove, a 
married man ; autum-dipper (or -diver), 
(1) a Baptist, (2) a thief working 
churches or conventicles, and (3) an 
overseer or guardian of the poor; 
autum-goggler, a pretended French 
prophet (Grose) ; autum-mort, a mar- 
ried woman, also the Twenty-fourth 
Order of the Canting Tribe, Travelling, 
Begging (and often Stealing) about the 
Country with one Child hi Arms, an- 
other on Back,and (sometimes) leading 
a third in the Hand ; autum-quaver, a 
Quaker ; autum-quaver tub, a Quaker's 

Author-baiting. Calling a play- 
wright before the curtain to subject 
him to annoyance yelling, hooting, 
bellowing, etc. 

Avastl Hold! Stop! Stay! 



Avering subs. (old). Begging on 
the shallow (q.v.) dodge. (1695.) 

Avoirdupois. Excess of flesh, fat. 

Avoirdupois- lay. Stealing brass 
weights of! the counters of shops 

Avuncular. Humorously employed 
in various combinations : e.g. avun- 
cular relation, a pawnbroker ; an uncle 
(q.v.); avuncular life, pawn broking ; 
also avuncular, of or pertaining to an 
uncle ; to avunculize, to act as an 
uncle. (1662.) 

Awake. On the alert, vigilant, 
fully appreciative : see Fly. (1785.) 

Away. Away (forthwith, con- 
tinuously) occurs in several colloquial- 
isms, mostly imperative. Thus : Fire 
away. Commence immediately ; Say 
away, Spit it out ; Peg away, Keep 
going ; Right away, at once : Away 
the mare, Adieu to care, Begone ; Far- 
and-away, altogether ; Who can hold 
that will away 1 Who can bind an un- 
willing tongue ? To mistake away, to 
pilfer and pretend mistake; Away back, 
(1) long ago, and (2) see Way-back. 

Awful. Monstrous : hence a generic 
intensive great, long, exceedingly 
good, bad, pretty, etc. Thus an aw- 

ful (very unpleasant) lime ; awful (side- 
splitting) fun ; awfully (uncommonly) 
jolly, etc. Also penny-awful, a blood- 
curdling tale : cf. Dreadful shocker, 
Blood-and-guts story, etc. As adv., 
exceedingly, extremely. (1816.) 

Awkward. Pregnant, lumpy (q.v.). 

Awkward-squad. Recruits at drill. 

Awls. See Alls. 

Ax. This archaic form of ask, once 
and long literary, survives dialectically 
[O. E. D. : Ax, down to nearly 1600, 
was the regular literary form : it was 
supplanted in standard English by ask, 
originally the northern form.] Also ax- 
my-eye, a cute fellow, a knowing blade. 
(1380.) Phrases: To have an ax to 
grind, to have personal interests to 
serve ; to put the ax in the helve, to 
solve a doubt, unriddle a puzzle ; to 
send the ax after the helve (or the helve 
after the hatchet), to despair ; to hang up 
one's ax, to desist from fruitless labour, 
abandon a useless project ; to open a 
door with an ax (said of barren or un- 
profitable labour). 

Axe wad die. To wallow. Hence 
axewaddler (a term of contempt). 

Ayrshires. Glasgow and South- 
western Railway Stock. 

B. 1. The title of a captain in the 
army of the Irish Republican Brother- 
hood (H. J. Byron). 2. (Harrow). A 
standard in Gymnasium the next 
below A (q.v.). 3. (Felsted). See A. 
Not to know B from a bull's foot (a 
battledore, a broomstick, or any allitera- 
tive jingle), to be illiterate or ignorant, 
unable to distinguish which is which : 
also affirmatively : see A, Battledore, 
Chalk, etc. (1401.) B Flat (or B), a 
bed bug, Norfolk Howard (q.v.): cf. 
F sharp. (1853.) 

Ba. To kiss : also as subs. : cf. 
Buss. [0. E. D. : probably a nursery 
or jocular word ; Century, perhaps 
the humorous imitation of a smack.] 

Baa. A bleat ; also as verb ; of a 
sheep. Hence baaling, a lambkin : 
also baa-lamb ; baaing, noisy silliness, 
and as adj. (1500.) 

Bab. The first word children use, 
as with us dad or daddie or bab (F lorio): 
Also babba. 

Babber-lipped. See Blabber-lips. 

Babble. Confused unintelligible 
talk such as was used at the building of 
the tower of Babel (B. E. and Grose). 
Babbler, a great talker (B. E.). 
[O. E. D. : Common to several lan- 
guages : in none can its history be 
carried far back ; as yet it is known as 

early in English as anywhere else 

No direct connection with Babel can be 
traced ; though association with that 
may have affected the senses.] 

Babbler. 1. A hound giving too 
much tongue. (1732.) 2. See Babble. 

Babe. 1. The last elected member 
of the House of Commons : cf. father 
of the House, the oldest representative. 
2. The youngest member of a class at 
the United States Military College, 
West Point. 3. An auction shark (q.v. ) ; 
a knock-out (q.v.) man : for a con- 
sideration these agree not to oppose the 
bidding of larger dealers, who thus 
keep down the price of lota. 4. (Ameri- 
can). A Baltimore rowdy : also blood 


Babe in the Wood. 


tub (q.v.), plug-ugly (q.v.) : see 

Babe in the Wood. 1. A culprit 
in the stocks or pillory (Grose). 2. In 
pi., dice. 

Baboo (or Babu). In Bengal, and 
elsewhere, among Anglo-Indians, it is 
often used with a slight savour of dis- 
paragement as characterising a super- 
ficially cultivated, but too often effemi- 
nate Bengali ; and from the extensive 
employment of the class to which the 
term was applied as a title in the capa- 
city of clerks, in English offices the 
word has come often to signify a native 
clerk who writes English (Yule). 
Hence baboo -English, superfine; grand- 
iloquent English such as is written by 
a baboo ; also baboodom and babooism. 

Baboon. A term of abuse : see Ape. 
Whence baboonery ; baboonish ; and ba- 
boonize, to monkey (q.v.). (1380.) 

Baby (or Babe). 1. A childish per- 
son : e.g. a great baby, a mere baby, 
etc. Hence, to smell of the baby, to be 
infantine or childish (in character or 
ability) : cf. Baby-act. Also, to act (or 
treat) childishly; babyhood (babydom 
or babyism), childishness ; baby-bunt- 
ing, an endearment. (1596.) 2. In pi., 
pictures in books. [0. E. D.: perh. orig. 
the ornamental tail- pieces and borders 
with Cupids and grotesque figures in- 
terworked.] (1605.) 3. The minute re- 
flection of one gazing into another's eye. 
Hence to look babies (or a boy) in the 
eyes, to look amorously ; to cast sheep' s- 
eyes (q.v.). (1586.) 4. A doll, puppet, 
a child's plaything : also baby-clouts, 
a rag - doll : see Bartholomew - baby. 
(1530.) As adj., small; tiny; e.g. a 
baby-glass, baby-engine, etc. (1859.) 
To kiss the baby, to take a drink ; to 
smile (q.v.). 

Baby Act. The legal defence of in- 
fancy : hence to plead the baby act, (1) 
to plead minority as avoiding a con- 
tract ; and (2) to excuse oneself on the 
ground of inexperience. 

Baby-farmer. A professional adop- 
ter of infants, minder (q.v.) : spec, in 
an evil sense : once the money is paid, 
the children are frequently gradually 
done to death. Whence Baby-farming. 

Baby-herder. A nurse. 

Babylon. Generic for luxury and 
magnificence. Hence (1) the papal 
power (formerly identified with the 
mystical Babylon of the Apocalypse) ; 

(2) any large city : spec. London (also 
Modern Babylon). Babylonian, (1) a 
papist ; and (2) an astrologer (Chaldea 
was the ancient seat of the craft) ; 
babylonish, popish. (1564.) 

Babylonitish. (Winchester). A 
dressing gown. [That is Babylonitish 

Baby's-pap. A cap. 

Baby Wee-wees. Buenos Ayres 
Water Works shares. 

Bacca. Tobacco: Fr., perlot (from 
perle). Also Bacco, Baccy, Backer, 
and Backey. (1833.) 

Bacca- pipes. Whiskers curled in 
ringlets : obsolete : see Mutton-chops. 

Baccare (or Bakkare), Go back ! 
Give place ! Away! (1473.) 

Bacchus. 1. Wine, intoxicating 
liquor. Whence son of Bacchus, a 
tippler : see Lushington ; and Bacchi 
plenus, drunk : see Screwed. [In- 
numerable derivatives and combina- 
tions have been and are still in more or 
less regular and literary use.] (1496.) 
2. (Eton.) Verses written (c. 1561) on 
Shrove Tuesday in honour or dispraise 
of Bacchus because poets were con- 
sidered the clients of Bacchus. . . . 
This custom was continued almost into 
modern days, and though the subject 
was changed, the copy of verses was 
still called a Bacchus. 

Bach (or Batch). To live as a 

Bachelor. Then the town butt is a 
bachelor, the retort incredulous on a 
woman's chastity (Bay). 

Bachelor's Baby. A bastard: see 
Bye-blow and Bachelor's- wife. ( 1672. ) 

Bachelor's Buttons. To wear 
bachelor's buttons, to be a bachelor. 
[Orey. Country fellows carried the 
flowers of this plant in their pockets, to 
know whether they should succeed 
with their sweethearts, and they j udged 
of their good or bad success by their 
growing or not growing there.] 

Bachelor's-fare. Bread and 
cheese and kisses. (1738.) 

Bachelor's- wif e . (1) An ideal wife; 
and (2) a harlot : whence bachelor's 
baby, a bastard. (1562.) 

Back. 1. To espouse, advocate, or 
support, a matter, by money, influence, 
authority, etc. : commonly, to back up. 
Hence (2), in racing, to wager, or bet in 
support of one's opinion, judgment, or 
fancy ; to back the field, to bet against all 
horses save one, usually the favourite ; 



Backing On. 

backed, betted on; backer, (1) a sup- 
porter, back - friend (q.v.), and (2) 
a layer of odds : cf. bookie ; backing, 
support. (1548.) 3. To endorse, counter- 
sign : e.g. to back a cheque ; also to 
back a bill, to become responsible for 
payment : cf. to foot an account ; 
backed, endorsed, accepted : for- 
merly to direct or address a letter : 
prior to the general use of envelopes, 
the address was written on the back of 
the folded sheet (1768) : to be backed, 
to be carried for dead. Phrases and 
colloquialisms : To give one the back, 
to ignore ; behind one's back, out of 
sight, hearing, or knowledge ; to give 
back, to turn tail ; to turn one's (or the) 
back on, (1) to go, (2) abandon, and (3) 
snub ; back ana side (back and belly, or 
back and edge), all over, completely, 
through thick and thin ; to take the back 
on oneself, to run away ; with back to 
the wall, hard - pressed, struggling 
against odds ; to have by the back, to 
seize, lay hold of ; to break the back, 
(1) to overburden, (2) all but finish (a 
task) ; to ride on one's back, to deceive ; 
to get the back of, (I) to take in the rear, 
and (2) have at an advantage ; on one's 
back, (1) floored (q.v.), (2) at the end 
of one's resources, (3) sick or indis- 
posed ; to have (put, get, or set) one's 
back up, ( 1) to resist, rouse, and (2) get 
(or be) angry (B. E. and Grose) : whence, 
don't get your back up \ Keep calm 1 
or Your back's up, a jeer at an angry 
hunchbacked man ; to back out, to re- 
tire cautiously, escape from a dilemma; 
to give (or make) a back, (1) to lend a 
hand, and (2) bend the body, as at leap- 
frog ; to back down, ( 1 ) to yield or 
retire from a matter, and (2) eat one's 
words : hence a back-down (or square 
back down), (1) utter collapse, and (2) a 
severe rebuff ; to be on a man's back, to 
chide, be severe upon ; to see the back of, 
to get rid of. Also His back is broad 
enough to bear jests (Kay) ; What 
is got over the devil's back is spent 
under his belly. To back up (Win- 
chester), to call out : e.g. Why didn't 
you back up? I would have come and 
helped you. In College, times are 
backed up by Junior in Chambers : 
such as Three quarters, Hour, 
Bells go single, Bells down. See 

Back-and-belly. All over, com- 
pletely : also back-and-bed, and cf. 
back - and edge (supra, s. v. Back, 

phrases). Hence to keep one back-and- 
belly, to provide everything, feed and 
clothe ; to beat one back-and-belly, to 
thrash thoroughly, (c. 1300.) 

Backare. See Baccare. 

Backbiter. 1. One who slanders 
another behind his back, i.e. in his 
absence (Grose). Also (2) His bosom 
friends are become his back - biters, 
said of a lousy man. 

Back-breaker. 1. A hard task- 
master : spec, the foreman of a gang of 
farm labourers ; and (2) any task that 
requires excessive exertion. Hence 
back-breaking, arduous. 

Back-cap. To depreciate, dispar- 
age : also to give a back-cap. 

Back-cheat A cloak ; a wrap- 
rascal (q.v.). 

Backdoor. The fundament. Hence 
backdoor - trot, diarrhoea. As adj., 
clandestine, speciously secret : also 
backstairs : e.g. backdoor counsellor, 
backstairs influence (or work), etc. ; 
orig. and spec, of underhand intrigue 
at Court, i.e. when the Sovereign is 
approached secretly by the private 
stairs of a palace instead of by the 
State entrance. (1611.) 

Back-end. The last two months of 
the racing season, commencing with 
October : also as adj. [Properly, the 
latter part of autumn.] Hence back- 
ender, a horse entered for a race late in 
the season. (1820.) 

Backfall. A trip or fall on the 
back, as also backheel and backlock. 
Also as verb. (1713.) 

Back- friend. (1) A secret enemy; 
one who holds back in time of need. 
Also (2) an ally (see Back, verb, 2). 
(1472.) (3) A splinter of skin formed 
near the roots of the finger-nail, a 
stepmother's blessing (q.v.). 

Back-gammon. See Backdoor. 

Back-handed Turn. An unprofit- 
able bargain. 

Back-hander. 1. A glass of wine 
out of turn, the bottle being passed 
back or retained for a second glass in- 
stead of following the sun round the 
table. Hence backhand (verb) and 
backhanding. (1855.) 2. A blow on 
the face delivered with the back of the 
hand ; hence an unexpected rebuff, a 
set-down (q.v.). (1836.) 

Backing and Filling. Shifty, 
irresolute, shilly-shally : orig. nautical 

Backing On. See Turning-on. 


Backings up. 


Backings up (Winchester). The 
unconsumed ends of half - burned 
faggots : obsolete. 

Back Jump. A back window : see 
Jump (Grose). 

Backmarked. To be backmarked, 
in handicapping to receive less start 
from scratch than previously given. 

Back - paternoster. See Back- 

Back - scratcher. 1. A wooden 
toy on the principle of a watchman's 
rattle, which, drawn down the back, 
sounds like the ripping up of cloth ; 
much in favour at fairs and in crowds ; 
its use (in London) is now (1904) pro- 
hibited by police order. 2. A flatterer : 
hence back-scratching, flattery : cf. Ka 
me, Ka thee. 

Back- seam. To be down on one 1 a 
back-seam, to be down on one's luck. 

Back Seat. To take a back seat, to 
retire into obscurity, confess failure, be 
left behind. [The colloquialism re- 
ceived an immense send off by 
Andrew Johnson in 1868 : In the 
work of reconstruction traitors should 
take back seats.] 

Back-set (modern, Set-back). A 
rebuff, untoward circumstance, relapse. 
Hence, to set back, to check. 

Back-slang. 1. A variety of slang, 
orig. costers, in which a word is 
slightly veiled by being written or pro- 
nounced as nearly as possible back- 
wards : thus yob, boy ; cool, look ; 
yennep, penny ; etc. 2. See Slum. 
3. A back-room; also the back-entrance 
to any house or premises ; thus, we'll 
give it 'em on the back slum, means 
we'Jl get in at the backdoor. As verb, 

( 1 ) To enter or come out of a house by 
the backdoor ; or to go a circuitous or 
private way through the streets, in 
order to avoid any particular place in 
the direct road, is termed back-slanging 
it (Grose.). (2) (Australian) to ask for 
hospitality on the road : a common and 
recognised up-country practice. 

Back -slum. See Slum 2, and 

Backs tair. See Backdoor. 

Backstaircase. A bustle, dress 
improver : see Birdcage. 

Back-stall. See Stale, subs. 5. 

Back-talk. (1) A rude answer; 

(2) contradiction ; (3) an insinuation ; 
and (4) withdrawal from a promise or 
an accepted invitation (Lane.) : also 
back-word and back -answer. Hence 

backward - answer, a perverse reply ; 
No back talk ! Shut up ! (1605.) 

Back-teeth. To have one's back 
teeth afloat, to be drunk : see Screwed. 

Back- timber. Clothes : cf. Belly- 
timber. (1656.) 

Back Tommy. Cloth to cover the 
stays at the waist. 

Backtrack. To take the back-track, 
to retreat, back out (q.v.). 

Back- trade. A backward course. 

Back- trick. A caper backwards 
in dancing. (1601.) 

Backward. A few phrases fall 
into alphabet here ; To say (or sing) 
the Te Deum (the Lord's Prayer or to 
spell) backwards, to mutter, curse : also 
as a charm : hence back-paternoster (or 
prayer), an imprecation ; to go back- 
wards, to go to the W.C. : see Mrs. 
Jones ; to piss backwards, to defecate ; 
to blow backwards, crepitate ; If I 
were to fall backwards, I should break 
my nose (Nay : It., i.e. I am so foiled 
in everything I undertake). See Bad 

Backwardation. A sum which a 
seller pays for not being obliged to 
deliver the shares at the time before 
agreed upon, but to carry them over to 
the following account : cf. Contango. 
Also Backwardization. 

Back-word. See Back-talk. 

Backy. A shopmato working be- 
hind another. 

Bacon. 1. Generic for rusticity. Thus 
bacon-slicer (bacon-chops or chaw-bacon) 
a rustic ; bacon-brains, a stupid clod- 
hopper : hence bacon-brained (-faced or 
-fed), clownish, dull (Bee and Grose) : 
also bacon-faced (or -side), fat-jowled, 
fat, sleek ; bacon-picker, a glutton. 
(1596.) 2. The human body. Whence 
to save one's bacon, to save appearances, 
to escape injury or loss (B. E., Grose, 
Bee) : Fr., sauver son lard ; to sell one's 
bacon, (1) to work for hire and spec., 
(2) to play the harlot for bread. 
(1362.) To pvll bacon, described in the 
Ingoldsby Legends : He put his thumb 
unto his nose and spread his fingers 
out, to take a sight (q.v.), to make 
Queen Anne's Fan (q.v.). Phrases: A 
good voice to beg bacon (said in jeer 
of an ill voice) (B. E. and Grose) ; 
When the devil is a hog, you shall eat 
bacon (Ray). 

Bad (or Badly). Very much, 
greatly. Also colloquial phrases ; to go 


Bad Bargain. 

Bad Way. 

to the bad, to go to ruin ; to be [any- 
thing] to the bad, to show a deficit, be 
on the wrong side of an account ; to 
come back again like a bad penny, (1) 
of anything unwelcome, and (2) a 
jocular assurance of return ; not half 
bad, fairly good ; bad to beat, difficult 
to excel ; to want badly, the superla- 
tive of desire ; cruel bad, very bad. 
Also Give a dog a bad name and you 
may hang him. (1816.) 

Bad Bargain. See Q.H.B. 

Bad- break. A corruption of bad 

Bad Crowd Generally. In sing., 
a mean wretch, no great shakes 

Bad-egg (-halfpenny, -hat, -lot, 
penny, etc.). 1. A ne'er-do-weel, 
loose fish : in America more inde- 
finitely used than in England. Also 
(old), a bad or risky speculation : Fr., 
mauvais gobet. (1363.) 

Bad Form. Conduct not in keep- 
ing with a conventional standard, 

Badge. 'A mark of Distinction 
among poor People ; as Porters, Water- 
men, Parish- Pensioners, and Hospital- 
boys, Blew -coats and Badges being 
the ancient Liveries' (B. E.). Hence 
badge-cove (or -man), a parish pensioner 
(Grose). To have one badge, to be 
burned in the hand : e.g. He has got 
his badge and piked, He has been 
burned in the hand and set at liberty 

Badger. 1. They that buy up a 
quantity of Corn and hoard it up in 
the same Market, till the price rises ; 
or carry it to another where it bears 
a better (B. E.). [O. E. D. : Origin 
unknown : Fuller derived it from L., 
bajutare, to carry (as if a cant con- 
traction baj., cf. the modern zoo, cab, 
etc.), but evidence is required before 
this can be admitted for the 15c. . . . 
By Act 5 and 6 Ed. VI. o. 14. 7, 
Badgers were required to be licensed by 
the Justices (the origin of the hawker's 
license).] 2. A river desperado ; vil- 
lains who rob near rivers, into which 
they throw the bodies of those they 
murder (Grose) : see Ark-ruffian. 3. A 
panel-thief (q.v.) : hence Badger-crib. 
4. A red-haired individual. 5. A com- 
mon prostitute. 6. The impersonator 
of Neptune in the festivities incident to 
Crowing the Lone ; also Badger-bag ; 
see Ambassador and Arthur. 7. (Wel- 

lington School) A member of the 2nd 
XV. at football. [A badge is worn by 
each individual : see sense 1.] 8. A 
brush ; spec, when made of badger's 
hair. 9. See Badger State. As verb, 
to worry unceasingly : as a badger when 
baited ; to pester : usually of a helpless 
victim (Bee). Hence badgered, wor- 
ried, teased ; badgering, heckling, 
persecution: Fr., aguigner. (1794.) 
To overdraw the badger, to overdraw a 
banking account. (1843.) 

Badger-box (Australian). A bad- 
ger- box is like an inverted V in section. 
They are covered with bark, with a 
thatch of grass along the ridge, and are 
on an average about 14 X 10 feet at the 
ground, and 9 or 10 feet high. 

Badgerly. Elderly, grey-haired : 
cf. grey as a badger. (1753.) 

Badger State. (1) The State of 
Wisconsin. [Badgers once abounded 
there.] Whence Badger, an inhabitant 
of Wisconsin. 

Bad Give-away. See Give-away. 

Bad-halfpenny. See Bad-egg. 

Bad Job. An ill bout, bargain, or 
business (B. E.). 

Bad Man. A professional fighter 
or man-killer, but who is sometimes 
perfectly honest. These men do most 
of the killing in frontier communities ; 
yet the men who are killed generally 
deserve their fate. They are used to 
brawling, are sure shots, and able to 
draw their weapon with marvellous 
quickness. They think nothing of 
murder, are the terror of their asso- 
ciates, yet are very chary of taking the 
life of a man of good standing, and 
will often weaken, and back down, at 
once if confronted fearlessly. Stock- 
men have united to put down these 
dangerous characters, and many locali- 
ties once infested by bad men are 
now perfectly law-abiding (Boose- 

Bad Match Twist. Red (or car- 
roty) hair and black whiskers. 

Badminton. 1. A kind of claret- 
cup : claret, sugar, spice, soda-water, 
and ice. [Invented at the Duke of 
Beaufort's seat of the same name.] 
(1845.) 2. Blood: cf. Claret, Rosy, 

Bad Shot See Shot 

Bad Slang. Faked up monstrosi- 
ties, spurious curiosities : see Slang, 
subs. 7. 

Bad Way. See Way. 




Baff. See Buff. 

Bag. 1. The womb. Hence as verb 
(or to be bagged), to become pregnant, 
to get big with child ; bagged, lumpy 
(q.v.) : properly of animals ; bag-pud- 
ding, pregnancy : cf. Sweet-heart and 
bag-pudding (Bay). (1598.) 2. The 
stomach : hence as verb, to feed, fill the 
stomach ; bagging, food : spec. (North) 
food eaten between meals, or (Lane.) a 
substantial afternoon repast, high 
tea; hence bagging -time. (1750.) 3. 
In pi., the paps, dugs (q.v.) : properly 
of animals. ( 1 642. ) 4. In pi. , Buenos 
Ayres Great Southern Railway Bonds. 
5. In pi., loosely-fitting clothes : spec, 
trousers ; also bumbags : whence hold- 
ing bags, breeches of loud pattern or 
cut, and go-to-meeting-bags, Sunday 
clothes, one's best wear : see Kicks. 
Hence baggy, stretched by wear ; bag- 
gily, loosely ; to bag, to sag ; bag-sleeve, 
a sleeve baggy above, and tight at, the 
wrist. (1350.) 6. (Westminster School). 
In sing., milk. 7. The contents of a 
game bag, the result of sport ; said of 
racing as of fishing, shooting, etc.; and 
alike of a big game expedition as of a 
day in the stubble. As verb (or to 
bring to bag), (1) to shoot, to kill, to 
catch. (1814.) (2) To acquire, secure : 
i.e. to seize, catch, or steal : cf. Nab, 
Cop, Bone, etc. Whence (old) bagger, a 
miser; bagged, (1) got, and (2) quodded 
(q.v.). (1740.) As intj.. Bags I or 
Bags I \ to assert a claim to some 
article of privilege : cf. Fains or Fain 
it (q.v.), a demand for a truce during 
a game, which is always granted : 
Pike I (or Prior pike) likewise serves 
to lay claim to anything, or to assert 
priority : also bar \ e.g. He wanted me 
to do so and so, but I barred not. 
Phrases. To turn to bag and wallet, to 
turn beggar ; to give one the bag to hold 
(Hay), to slip off : also leave in the 
lurch ; to give the bag, (1) to leave with- 
out warning (Grose), also (2) dismiss, 
and (3) cheat (Webster): see Canvas, 
Sack, and Wallet ; to let the cat out of 
the bag, to disclose a trick or secret (see 
Cat) ; to empty the bag, to tell all : also 
lose an argument (Fr., vider le sac); 
to put one in a bag, to vanquish, double 
up ; to put (or get) one's head in a bag, 
to drink a pot of beer ; to take the bag, 
to play the hare in Hare and Hounds ; 
to have the bags, ( 1 ) to come of age, and 
(2) be flush of money ; to bag the over 
(see Jockey). See Blue-bag ; Carpet- 

bagger ; Cat ; Green-bag ; Nose-bag ; 

Bag-and- baggage. One's belong- 
ings : hence to dear (or turn) out bag- 
and-baggage, to make a good riddance : 
in depreciation. [0. E. D. : Originally 
a military phrase denoting all the pro- 
perty of an army collectively, and of the 
soldiers individually; hence the phrase, 
orig. said to the credit of an army or 
general, To march out with bag-and- 
baggage (Fr., vie et bagues sauves) ; i.e. 
with all belongings saved ... to make 
an honourable retreat.] Bag - and- 
baggage policy, wholesale surrender, 
general scuttling, peace at any price. 

Bag and Bottle. Provisions, food 
and drink : cf. Back and belly. 

Bagatelle. A trifle, matter of little 
worth or consequence. As adj., trump- 
ery, trifling. [O. E. D. : Formerly quite 
naturalised ; now scarcely so.] (1637. ) 

Baggage. 1. Luggage, portable 
property ; belongings (q.v.) : spec, the 
equipment of an army. Hence bag-and- 
baggage (q.v.). Whence baggage-check, 
a luggage-ticket, cloak-room ticket ; 
baggage-man (or master), a guard in 
charge of luggage ; baggage-room, a 
parcels office or cloak-room ; baggage- 
smasher, a porter, station thief. ( 1430. ) 
2. Generic for trash: e.g. encumbrances, 
rubbish, dirt, pus. Whence (spec. post- 
Reformation), the rites and accessories 
of Catholic ritual : cf. sense 3. As adj., 
trumpery (also baggagely), corrupt, 
vile. (1538.) 3. A good-for-nothing : 
man or woman : spec, strumpet (B. E. : 
cf. Fr. bagasse, Sp. bagaza, Port, bgasa, 
It. bagascia). Also (4) a familiar ad- 
dress to a woman, esp. a young woman : 
usually qualified by cunning, saucy, 
pretty, little, sly, etc. (Grose) : cf. Puss, 
Rogue, Wench, Drab, etc. As adj., 
worthless (see sense 2), vile ; baggagery, 
the rabble, the scum of society. Heavy 
baggage (Grose and Bee), women and 

Baggy. Inflated ; high-falutin' 
(q.v.). See Bag, subs. 3. 

Bagle. A prostitute (HattiweU). 

Bagman. 1. A bag - fox, a fox 
caught and preserved alive to be 
hunted another day, when it is brought 
in a bag and turned out before the 
hounds. 2. A commercial traveller, 
an Ambassador of commerce (q.v.) : 
formerly the usual epithet, but now in 
depreciation. (1766.) 




Bagnio. A brothel, a stew (q.v.). 
[Orig. a bathing-house.] Also Bainos. 

Bag- of- bones. An emaciated 
person (or animal) a walking skeleton 
(q.v.), shapes (q.v). Also (old) Bed- 
full of bones, and Bagful of skin and 
bones : Fr., sacdos (i.e. sac d dos). 

Bag of Nails. Confusion, topsy- 
turveydom. [Qy. from bacchanals.] 
Also, He squints like a bag of nails, 
i.e. his eyes are directed as many ways 
as the points of a bag of nails (Grose. ) 

Bag o' Moonshine. Nonsense : 
see Moonshine. 

Bag of Mystery. A sausage (or 
Baveloy), a chamber of horrors (q.v.). 

Bag-of- tricks. Usually the whole 
bag of tricks, every shift or expedient. 
[See fable of The Fox and the Cat] 
Hence the bottom of the bag of tricks 
(or the bag), a last resource, a card 
up one's sleeve. (1659.) 

Bagpipe. A chatterbox, a wind- 
bag (q.v.) : cf. He's like a bagpipe, 
he never talks till his belly's full. As 
adj., empty-headed, gutless (q.v.) ; and 
as verb, to gas (q.v.). 

Bag- pud ding. A clown: cf. Jack- 
pudding : see Bag, subs. 1. 

Bag-wig. An eighteenth century 
wig ; the back hair was enclosed in an 
ornamental bag ; hence bag - wigged, 
wearing a bag- wig. (1760.) 

Ba-ha. Bronchitis. 

Bah. An exclamation of contempt 
or disgust: Fr., bah ! (1600.) 

Bail. Straw-bail (or straw-shoes). 

1. Professional bail : see Straw. Also 
(2) insufficient bail (modern). To give 
(or take) leg bail, to escape, be indebted 
to one's legs for safety : see Bunk. Also 
to take leg-bail and give land-security. 

Bail up (or Bale up). (1) To se- 
cure the head of a cow in a bail for 
milking. (2) By transference, to stop 
travellers in the bush, used of bush- 
rangers. ... It means generally to 
stop. Like Stick up (q.v.), it is often 
used humorously of a demand for sub- 
scriptions, etc. (1844.) 

Bain. See Bagnio. 

Bairn's- bed. The womb. (1549.) 

Bait. 1. Anger, a wax (q.v.). 

2. A fee, a refresher (q.v.). (1603.) 
Welsh (or Scotch) bait, a rest given to 
a horse at the top of a hill, a breather 
(q.v.). (1662.) 

Baiting-stock. A laughing-stock. 

Bait land. An old word, formerly 
used to signify a port where refresh- 
ments could be procured. (1725.) 

Bake (Winchester). To rest, to sit 
(or lie) at ease. Hence baker, (1) a 
cushion, and (2) anything to sit (or 
kneel) upon, as a blotting- book, etc. 
[Bakers were of two kinds : that used 
in College was large, oblong and 
green ; whilst the Commoners' baker 
was thin, narrow, much smaller, and 
red.] Whence baker-layer (obs.), a 
Junior who carried a Prefect's green 
baker in and out of Hall at meal-times. 
Also bakester (obs.), a sluggard ; bak- 
ing-leave (obs.), (1) permission to bake 
(spec, on a kind of sofa) in a study in 
Commoners or in a Scob-place (q.v.) 
in College, and (2) leave to sit in 
another's toys (q.v.) ; baking-place, 
any place in which to bake, or in 
connection with which baking leave 
was given. [North, dial. : beek (or 
beak), to expose oneself to the genial 
warmth of sun, fire, etc., to bask. 
Jamieson : beik, beke, beek, to bask.] 
(1230.) Phrases : To bake one's bread, 
to punish (q.v.), to do for (q.v.) ; As 
they brew, so let them bake (prov. 
saying), Let them go on as they have 
begun ; I must go and bake some bread 
(a jocular excuse for departure) ( 1 380. ) 

Baked. Collapsed, exhausted, done 
up ; e.g. toward tne end of the course 
the crew were regularly baked. Half- 
(or dough-) baked, inconclusive, imper- 
fect Also dull-witted, soft (q.v.): 
see Half-baked. (1502.) 

Baker. 1. Bakers, against whom 
severe penalties for impurity of bread 
or shortness of weight were enacted 
from very early times, have been the 
subject of much colloquial sarcasm. 
' I feare we parte not y6et, Quoth the 
baker to the pylorie.' (1562.) They 
say the owl was a baker's daughter. 
(1602.) Three dear years will raises 
baker's daughter to a portion ; 'Tis 
not the smallness of the bread, but the 
knavery of the baker ; Take all, and 

ry the baker ; Pull devil, pull baker. 
A loafer. [The word is generally 
atthbutedto Baron de MandatGrancey, 
who, in Cowboys and Colonels, inno- 
cently translated the word loafer as 
baker.] To spett baker, to attempt a 
difficult task. [In old spelling booka 
Baker was often the first word of 




two syllables to which a child came 
when learning to spell.] 

Baker-kneed (or Baker-legged). 
Knock-kneed, bow-legged, effeminate 
(Grose). (1607.) 

Baker's Dozen (or Bargain). 1. 
Thirteen counted as twelve : sometimes 
fourteen (Grose and Bee). Hence 2. good 
measure : e.g. To give a man a baker's 
dozen, to trounce him well. Also 
Brown-dozen (q.v.), DeviPs-dozen (cf. 
Baker 1, and Fr., boulanger, devil), 
and Round-dozen (see Round). [Bakers 
were (and are) liable to heavy penalties 
for deficiency in the weights of loaves : 
these were fixed for every price from 
eighteenpence down to twopence, but 
penny loaves or rolls were not specified 
in the statute. They, therefore, to be 
on the safe side, gave, for a dozen of 
bread, an additional loaf, known as 
inbread. A similar custom was for- 
merly observed with regard to coal, 
and publishers nowadays reckon thir- 
teen copies of a book as twelve. 

Baker's Light Bobs. The 10th 

Bakes. 1. A schoolboy. 2. An ori- 
ginal stake : chiefly schoolboys': e.g. 
When I get my bakes back I shall 
stop playing. [Barttett : in reference 
possibly to a baker not always getting 
his bake safely out of the oven.] 

Bakester, Baking-leave, Baking- 
place, etc. See Bake. 

Balaam. Miscellaneous paragraphs 
for filling up a column of type, padding 
(q.v.) ; applied either to MS. copy or 
stereo. Hence Balaam-box (or -basket), 
(1) a receptacle for such matter, and (2) 
a waste - paper basket. [Webster : a 
cant term ; popularised by BlackwoocTa 
Mag. See Numbers xxii. 30.] (1822.) 

Balaclava- day. A soldier's pay 
day. [Balaclava in 1854-6 was a base 
of supply for English troops : as pay 
was drawn, the men went down to 
make their purchases.] 

Balance. The remainder, the rest : 
cf. lave (Scots) and shank (as in the 
shank of the evening). ( 1 846. ) 

Balbus. A Latin prose composition. 
[From the frequency with which Balbus 
is mentioned in Arnold's Latin Prose 

Baldcoot. 1. A term of contempt: 
cf. Baldhead. [The frontal plate of 
the coot is destitute of feathers.] 
Hence bald as a. coot, as bald as may be. 

[Tyndale, Works (1530), ii. 224, s.v.]. 
2. A young man who parts with his 
blunt freely at gambling, and is rooked; 
older persons also stay and get plucked 
sometimes, until they have not a 
feather to fly with. Such men, after 
the plucking, become bald-coots (Bee). 

Balderdash. (1) Froth or frothy 
liquid ; (2) a jumble of liquors (B. E. 
and Grose) : e.g. brandy (or milk) and 
beer, milk and rum, etc. : also as verb, 
to dash with another liquid, and 
hence to adulterate (Grose) ; (3) a 
jumble of words, nonsense, trash ; and 
(4) lewd conversation (Grose), obscen- 
ity, scurrility. [0. E. D. : From the 
evidence at present the inference is 
that the current sense was transferred 
.... with the notion of frothy talk. 
Century : Of obscure origin, apparently 
dial, or slang.] (1598.) 

Bald -face. New whisky: war- 
ranted to kill at forty rods. Boldfaced, 
neat (q.v.). 

Bald-faced Shirt. A white shirt: 
cf. Boiled shirt. 

Bald-faced Stag. A bald-headed 
man, bladder of lard. 

Baldhead (or Pate). A term of 
contempt : also Baldy. [Of Biblical 
origin.] Hence baltititde, a state of 
baldness ; his balditude, a mock title ; 
and baldheaded-row, the first row of 
stalls at theatres, especially at leg- 
shops (q.v.). (1535.) 

Baldheaded. Eagerly ; with might 
and main. [Bartlett : as when one 
rushes out without his hat. (1848.) 
To snatch baldheaded, to defeat a person 
in a street fight. 

Baldober (or Baldower). A 
leader, a spokesman [Ger.]. 

Bald-rib. A lean person, a walk- 
ing-skeleton (q.v.). (1621.) 

Bal due turn. Nonsense, rubbish : 
as adj., affected, trashy. (1577.) 

Bal four's Maiden. A covered bat- 
tering-ram : used by the Royal Irish 
Constabularly in carrying out evictions 
in Ireland (1888-89.) 

Ball. 1. The head: also Ball in 
the hood, Billiard-ball, etc. (1300.) 
2. A ration, food or drink. 3. (Win- 
chester) in pi., a Junior hi College : 
his duty is to collect footballs from 
lockers in school and take them through 
to the Ball-keeper in Commoners to be 
blown or repaired, and who, for service 
in looking after cricket and footballs, 
is exempted from kicking in (q.v.) and 




watching out (q.v.). Phrases. To 
catch (or take) the ball before the bound,to 
uiticipate ; to have the ball at one's foot 
(or before one), to have in one's power 
(or at one's finger-ends) ; to open the 
ball, to lead off, make a start ; to keep 
the ball rolling (or keep up the ball), to 
prevent a matter flagging or hanging 
fire ; to take up the bau, to take one's 
turn : whence the ball's with you, 
you're next (1589.) Call the ball 
(Stonyhurst), the Foul ! of Associa- 
tion football. Three brass (or golden) 
balls : see Three Balls. 

Ballad- basket. A street singer : 
see Street pitcher : Fr., braillard. 

Ballad-monger. A ballad-maker : 
in contempt : hence Ballad- mongering. 

Ballahou. A term of derision 
applied to an ill-conditioned slovenly 
ship (Century) ; a West Indian clip- 
per schooner : apparently she may also 
be a brig to judge from The Cruise of 
the Midge (Clark Russell). 

Ballambangjang. The Straits of 
BaUambangjang, though unnoticed by 
geographers, are frequently mentioned 
in sailors' yarns as being so nanrow.and 
the rocks on each side so crowded with 
trees inhabited by monkeys, that the 
ship's yards cannot be squared, on ac- 
count of the monkeys' tails getting 
jammed into, and choking up, the 
brace blocks (Hotten). 

Ballast. Money : generic : see 
Rhino. Hence wett-baUasted, rich. 

Ball Face. A white man [Bartlett : 
applied at Salem, Mass., 1810-1820]. 

Ball-keeper. See Ball, subs. 

Ball of Fire. A glass of cheap 
brandy (Grose.) 

Ball of Honour. See Beggar's 

Ball of Wax. A snob, or shoe- 

Balloon. To brag, to gas (q.v.). 
Also baUoonacy (cf. lunacy), a mania 
for ballooning ; baUoonatic (cf. lunatic), 
balloon - mad ; ballooning, inflating 
prices by fictitious means, and as adj., 
high falutin' (q.v.). (1826.) 

Ballot-box Stuffing. Tampering 
with election returns ; a box is con- 
structed with false bottom and com- 
partments so as to permit spurious bal- 
lots to be introduced by the teller in 
charge. The most outrageous frauds 
have been committed by this means 

Ball's-bull. Like BalT* bull, said 
of a person with no ear for music : 
Ball's bull had so little that he kicked 
the fiddler over the bridge (HalliweU). 

Bally. A generic intensive : very, 
great, excessive. [A comparatively re- 
cent coinage, it is said, of The Sporting 
Times from ballyhooly.] 

Ballyhack. Go to hollyhock, Get 

Ballyrag. See Bullyrag. 

Balm. A lie (Duncombe). 

Balmy. The balmy, sleep : as adj., 
sleepy: cf. balmy slumbers (Shake- 
speare) and balmy sleep ( Young). To 
have a doze (or wink) of the balmy, to 
go to sleep : see Bedfordshire and 

Balsam. Generic for money (Grose 
and Bee) : see Rhino. 

Bam (or Bamboozle). A hoax, 
cheat : as verb (bamboo, boozle, or 6am- 
booze), to victimize, outwit, mystify 
or deceive (Grose) : also (HalliweU) to 
threaten : cf. hum from humbug, 
[Swift (1710), Toiler, Refinements of 
Twenty Years Past : Certain words 
such as banter, bamboozle . . . now 
struggling for the vogue ; Johnson 
(1755) : a cant word ; Boucher (1833) : 
has long . . . had a place in the gypsy 
or canting dictionaries ; 0. E. D. : 
probably of cant origin ; Century : 
[a slang word of no definite origin.] 
Whence numerous combinations, col- 
loquialisms and phrases : e.g. to bam- 
boozle away, to get rid of speciously; 
to bamboozle into, to persuade artfully ; 
to bamboozle out of, to obtain by trick ; 
bamboozled, mystified, tricked ; bam- 
boozlement, tricky deception ; bam- 
boozler, a mystifier ; bambost, deceptive 
humbug ; to bamblustercate, to bluster, 
embarrass, or confuse : cf. conglomer- 
ate and comflogisticate ; bamsquabbled 
(or &itm*gtta6Wed),discomfited,defeated 
squelched. See Banter. (1703.) 

Banaghan. He beats Banaghan, 
an Irish saying of one who tells 
travellers' tales. [Banaghan (Grose) 
was a minstrel famous for dealing in 
the marvellous.] 

Banagher. To bang. 

Bananaland, Bananalander. 
Queensland, a native of Queensland. 
A large portion of Queensland lies 
within the tropics to which the banana 
(Musa sapientum) is indigenous.] 

Banbury. The inhabitants of this 
Oxfordshire town (now noted for its 




cakes) seem to have been the subjects 
of ridicule and sarcasm from very early 
times ; chiefly on account of their zeal 
for the Puritan cause. Thus Banbury- 
man (-blood or -saint), a hypocrite (cf. 
popular saying A Banbury man will 
hang his cat on Monday for catching 
mice on Sunday) ; Banbury - wife, a 
whore ; Banbury - story (or Banbury 
tale of a cock-and-a-butt), an extremely 
improbable yarn (Grose), silly chat 
(B. E.) ; Banbury-gloss, a specious 
reading ; Banbury-vapours, the stock- 
in-trade of a Puritan agitator ; Ban- 
bury-cheese, the thinnest of poor cheese 
(Hey wood : I never saw Banbury 
cheese thick enough) : hence a term 
of contempt. Also proverbs (Howett, 
1660) : Like Banbury tinkers, who in 
stopping one hole make two ; As wise 
as the mayor of Banbury, who would 
prove that Henry III. was before 
Henry II. (1535.) 

Banco. (Charterhouse). Evening 
preparation at House, under the 
superintendence of a monitor ; the 
Winchester toy - time (q.v.). [See 
Farmer : Public School Word Book.'] 

Banco-steerer. See Bunco- 

Band. Our Lady's bands, accouche- 
ment, confinement (an old abstract 
meaning.) (1495.) See Banded. 

Bandanna. Orig. a silk handker- 
chief with white, yellow, or other 
coloured spots on a dark ground. 
Also (loosely) a handkerchief of any 
kind : see Wipe. (1752.) 

Bandbox (or Bandboxical). (1) 
Precisely neat, fussy, finical ; and (2) 
frail or small (as is a bandbox) : e.g. a 
bandbox thing ; She's just come out 
of a bandbox (or glass case) ; You 
ought to be put in a bandbox (of any- 
one over particular). See Bandog. 

Banded. Hungry ; also to wear 
the bands (Grose and Vaux). 

Bandero. Widows' weeds. [Cf. 
Littrt/ : bandeau, anciennement, coiffure 
des veuves ; Kennett : bandore a widow's 
veil, and B. E., a widow's mourning 
Peak ; Eng., banderol, a streamer 
carried on the shaft of a lance near 
the head.] 

Bandog. 1. A bailiff, or his 
Follower, a Sergeant, or his Yeo- 
man (B. E. and Cfrose). [Properly 
a bound - dog, because ferocious ; 
hence a mastiff or bloodhound.] To 

speak like a bandog (or bandog and 
bedlam), to rave, to bluster. (1600.) 
2. A bandbox (Grose). 

B. andS. Brandy and Soda. (1868.) 

Bandy. See Bender. 

Bandy-legged. Crooked (B. E.) 
[The earliest quot. in 0. E. D. is dated 
1787 ; but the word did not come into 
general use until the second quarter of 
the eighteenth century.] 

Bang. 1. Generic for energy and 
dash : a blow, thump, sudden noise, 
go (q.v.). As verb, to drub (B. E. 
and Grose), strike, explode, or shut 
with violence. Hence to bang it out 
(or about), to come to blows (or fisti- 
cuffs), fight it out ; to bang (slam) a 
door ; to bang (fire) a gun ; to bang 
(play loudly) a piano ; to bang into 
one's head, to convince by force ; to 
bang against, to bump (or thump) ; 
to bang away at, to make a violent and 
continuous noise ; to bang out, to go 
with a flourish ; to bang up, to sud- 
denly throw oneself upon, to spring 
up; bang (or bang off), at once, abruptly; 
e.g. bang went saxpence ; tn a bang, in 
a hurry ; bang out, completely ; banging, 
violent, noisy, and as subs, a drubbing : 
see Wipe. 2. A fringe of hair (usually 
curled or frizzed) cut squarely across 
the forehead. As verb, to cut (or 
wear) the hair in this fashion : also 
bang tail, bang-tailed, and bang-tail 
muster (of horses, cattle, etc.) Every 
third or fourth year on a cattle 
station, they have what is called a 
bang tail muster ; that is to say, all the 
cattle are brought into the yards, and 
have the long hairs at the end of the 
tail cut off square, with knives or 
sheep-shears : the object of it is ... to 
find out the actual number of cattle on 
the run, to compare with the number 
entered on the station books (Tyr- 
whitt). As verb (1) to excel, surpass, 
beat : cf. (Irish) that bangs Bannag- 
her and Bannagher bangs the world ; 
(2) to outwit, puzzle, deceive : banging 
great, large, thumping (q.v.) : e.g. a 
banging boy, wench, lie, etc. ; banger, 
anything exceptional ; bang-up, fine, 
first-rate, of the best (the root idea is 
completeness combined with energy 
and dash) ; occasionally (as verb), to 
smarten up ; (3) to offer stock loudly 
with the intention of lowering the 
price (Stock Exchange). To be banged 
up to the eyes, to be drunk : see Screwed 
to bang (or beat) the hoof : see Hoof. 




Bang- beggar. 1. A stout cudgel. 2. 
A constable or beadle. 3. A vagabond : 
^ term of reproach. 

Banger. A heavy cane, a bludgeon : 
one of the Yale vocables (Hall). The 
Bangert, the First Life Guards. 

Bang- pitcher. A tippler: see Lush- 
Ington. Hence to bang the pitcher, 
to guzzle : see Lush. 

Bangs ter. 1. A bully, braggart. As 
adj. turbulent. Bangstry, violence. 

2. A victor, winner : cf. bang, verb. 

3. A wanton. 

Bangstraw. A thresher: also ap- 
plied to all servants of a farmer 

Bang- tail. See Bang. 

B a n g y (Winchester College). 
Brown sugar. As adj., brown. Hence 
bangy bags (or 6on0te),brown-coloured 
trousers : the strong objection to 
these in former times probably arose 
from Tony Lumpkin coming to school 
in corduroys (Wrench). Bangy -gate 
(1) a brown gate leading from Grass 
Court to Sick House Meads ; and (2) 
a gate by Racquet Court into Kings- 
gate Street. 

Banian (or Banyan) -day. One 
day (originally two) in the week on 
which, in the Royal Navy, meat was 
withheld from the crews ; hence, a bad 
day, a disagreeable day : in reference 
to the Banian's abstinence from flesh. 

Banister. A balustrade : a cor- 
ruption of baluster condemned by 
Nicholson as improper, by Stuart 
and Gwilt (Diet. Archit. 1830) as vul- 
gar, the term had already taken 
literary rank, and has now acquired 
general acceptance. 

Banjo. A bed-pan, fiddle (q.v.), slip- 
per (q.v.). 

Bank. 1. A lump sum, the total 
amount possessed : e.g. How's the 
bank ? Not very strong, about 
one and a buck. As verb, (1) to steal, 
make sure of : e.g. Bank the rags, 
Take the notes ; (2) to place in safety ; 
and (3) to share the booty, to nap the 
regulars (q.v.). 2. Spec. The Bank, 
i.e. Millbank Prison; the site is now 
(1903) occupied by an Art Gallery. 

Banker. 1. A horse, good at 
jumping on and off banks too high to 
be cleared. 2. In pi., clumsy boots 
and shoes, beetle-crushers (q.v.): see 

Bankrupt -cart. A one-horse 
chaise of a Sunday (Bcc) : said to 

be so called by a Lord Chief Justice 
through their being so frequently used 
on Sunday jaunts by extravagant 
shopkeepers and tradesmen (Grose). 

Bankruptcy List To be put on the 
bankruptcy lift, to be completely 
knocked out of time (Grose). 

Bank-shaving. Usury : before banks 
were regulated by Act of Congress, the 
least reputable purchased notes of 
hand and similar documents at enor- 
mously usurious rates of discount : 
he who thus raised the wind was said 
to get his paper shaved. 

Bankside-lady (or wench). In 
15th to 17th c. a harlot: in old London 
the neighbourhood of the theatres was 

notably Bank-side, Southwark, and 
in later days, Covent Garden and 
Drury Lane. 

Bank-sneak. A bank thief (q.v.). 

Banner. Money paid for board and 
lodging : the origin of the term is un- 

Bannister. A traveller in distress : 
the term occurs in the ancient accounts 
of the parish of Chudleigh, co. Devon. 

Ban que t. Running banquet, a snack, 
slight repast between meals ; running 
banquet between beadles, a whipping. 

Banquet-beagle. A glutton, smell- 
feast (q.v.). 

Banter. Nonsense, raillery, 
pleasantry, a jest or matter of jest. 
As verb, with numerous derivatives : 
e.g. banter er, banter ee, bantering, ban- 
tery, etc. Swift says the word was First 
borrowed from the bullies in White 
Friars, then it fell among the foot- 
men, and at last retired to the pedants 
(Tale of a Tub, 1710; of unknown 
etymology : it is doubtful whether the 
verb or the sb. was the earlier : ex- 
isting evidence is in favour of the verb : 
the sb. wad treated as slang in 1688 
(O. E. D.). 2. A challenge to a race, 
shooting-match, etc. (Bartlett, 1484). 
Also as verb. 

Bant. Orig. to follow the dietary 
prescribed by Dr. Banting for corp- 
ulence ; hence to diet oneself, train. 

Bantling. A bastard : cf. brat ; 
hence (modern), child (B. E., Grose) : 
spec, a young or undersized child ; 
usually in depreciation : with great 
probability, a corruption of Ger. 
oanlding, bastard, from bank, bench, 
i.e. a child begotten on a bench and 
not in the marriage-bed (AfaAn). 




Banty. Saucy, impudent. 

Banyan- day. See Banian-day. 

Baptised. Mixed with water, 
christened (q.v.) (Grose, Bee) : spec, 
of spirits when not taken neat (q.v.) : 
Fr., chretien, baptist. 

Baptist. A pickpocket caught and 
ducked (Bee). 

Bar. As verb and preposition bar, 
of respectable lineage, is now more or 
lees colloquial. 1. Except, excluding, 
save, but for : mostly used in racing, 
e.g. four to one bar one, four to one 
on the field, that is on all the horses 
entered excepting only the favourite. 
2. To exclude from consideration, take 
exception to. 3. To stop, cease. 4. To 
frequent drinking-bars, to tipple. To 
bar too much, to get drunk : see 

Barabbas. A publisher. [Usually, 
but erroneously, attributed to Lord 
Byron, who is said to have applied it 
to John Murray the elder, having sent 
him a Bible in which the famous pas- 
sage in John xviii., 40, was altered 
to Now Barabbas was a publisher. 
The reigning John Murray (1904) 
writes : I have it on the authority of 
my father, who was alive during all 
the time of his father's dealings with 
Byron, that there is not a word of 
truth in any detail of the story. The 
joke was in reality made by Thomas 
Campbell in regard to another pub- 
lisher, the Mr Longman of his day]. 

Baragan-tailor. A rough-working 

Barathrum. An extortioner, a glut- 

Barb. To shave, trim the beard : 
also to barber : cf. Butch. 2. To clip 
gold, sweat (q.v.) : also applied to 
clipping wool, cloth, etc. 

Barbadoes. To transport (as a con- 
vict) : Barbadoes was formerly a penal 

Barbar. (Durham School). A can- 
didate for scholarship hailing from 
another school : i.e. barbar-i&a, 

Barber. 1. A thick fagot or bough : 
one was included in each bundle of fire- 
wood. 2. Any large piece of timber. 3. 
A generic reproach : thus, barber' s -block 
(cleric, or barber-monger), a fop, one 
who spends much time in barbers' 
shops ; spec, (mechanics) an over- 
dressed shopman or clerk ; barber's 
cat, a weak, sickly-looking person ; 

barber's - chair, a strumpet (because 
common to all comers) ; barber' s-music, 
rough music. Also (proverbial) Nos- 
trils wider than barbers' basins. As 
verb, to work off an imposition by 
deputy : also barberise : tradition says 
that a learned barber, was at one 
time employed as a scapegoat in 
working off this species of punish- 
ment. 3. See Barb and barberise. 
That's the barber, that's well done ; 
It's all O.K. (q.v.) : a street catch- 
phrase about the year 1760 (Grose). 

Barberize. To shave, cut hair, play 
the barber : cf. Barb. 

Barber's-knock. A double knock : 
the first hard, and the second soft as if 
by accident. 

Bard. A term of contempt : in 
early Lowland Scotch used for a 
strolling musician or minstrel, into 
which the Celtic bard had degenerated, 
and against whom many laws were 
enacted; in 16th cent., a term of con- 
tempt, but idealised by Scott to mean 
an epic poet, a singer. 

Bar' d cater tra. False dice: so 
constructed that the quatre and trois 
were seldom cast : cf. fullams, high- 
men, low-men, etc. 

Bare-board. To go on bare-board, to 
play without putting down the stake. 

Bare-bones. A lean person, walk- 
ing skeleton, rack of bones : also (in 
Commonwealth times) a term of con- 

Bare-footed. Variously applied : 
e.g. to take tea barefooted, to dispense 
with sugar and milk ; to take a dram 
barefooted, to drink spirits neat (q.v.), 
or naked (q.v.) ; barefooted on the top 
of the head, bald. 

Bargain. Subs. (old). A catch, 
sell (q.v.). Hence, to sell a bargain, 
to humbug, hoax, banter : a species of 
low wit, of ancient usage, but much in 
vogue about the latter end of the reign 
of Queen Anne. Swift remarks that, 
The maids of honour often amused 
themselves with it. Dutch (or wet) 
bargain, a deal clinched by a drink ; 
Dutch-bargain also means a deal the 
advantage of which is all on one side. 
Also in various proverbial phrases : 
thus, To make the best of a bad 
bargain (Hay) ; At a great bargain 
make a pause ; More words than one 
go to a bargain ; A good bargain is a 
pick-purse (i.e. tempts people to buy 
what they need not). 




Barge. 1. A fat, heavy person ; one 
broad in the beam : in contempt. 2. 
(Printers) (a) A case unduly loaded 
with stamps not in frequent request 
with a shortness of those most in use. 
Also (b) a card or small box for spaces : 
used while correcting away from case. 
3. (Sherborne School). Small cricket : 
played against a wall with a stump 
for bat. As verb, to abuse, slang ; 
cf. Bullyrag. Also (Charterhouse and 
Uppingham) to hustle, mob up, brick. 

Bargee. A barge- man or barger 
(the dictionary terms): Cambridge 
wit (Grose). 

Barge-pole (Winchester). A large 
stick of thick bough, of which there 
was one in each fagot : also any large 

Eiece of wood : cf. Barber. Not fit to 
5 touched with the end of a barge-pole 
(a pair of tongs, etc.), unapproachable 
through filth, disease, prejudice, or the 

Bark. 1. A native of Ireland : hence 
Barkshire, Ireland. 2. The skin. As 
verb, to abrade (scrape, or rub off) 
the skin, bruise. 3. A cough : spec, 
when persistent and hacking: per- 
sons thus troubled are said to Have 
been to Barking Creek (or Barkshire). 
As verb, to cough incessantly. Barker, 
one with a churchyard cough (q.v.) or 
notice to quit (q.v.). 4. See Barker, 
Phrases: To bark against (or at) the 
moon (see Barker) ; to take the bark off, 
to reduce in value, rub the gilt off ; 
the. word with the bark on it, without 
circumlocution, no mincing matters, 
the straight -tip (q.v.); between the 
bark and the wood (or tree) (of a well- 
adjusted bargain where neither party 
has the advantage (BaUiweU) ; to bark 
through the fence, to take advantage 
of adventitious shelter or protection 
to say or do that which would other- 
wise entail unpleasant consequences ; 
to bark up the wrong tree, to blunder, to 
mistake one's object or the right course 
to pursue, to get the wrong sow by the 
ear ; to go between bark and tree, to 
meddle : spec, in family matters ; the 
bark is worse than the btle (of one who 
threatens but fails to do as he vows). 

Barker. 1. A salesman's servant 
that walks before the shop, and cries, 
Cloaks, Coate, or Gowns, what d'ye 
lack, sir T (B. E.). 2. A tout of any 
description. Fr., aboyeur. 3. A boy 
attending a drover, helping him to 
drive his sheep by means of imitating 

the bark of a dog. 4. A noisy (or 
assertive) disputant, spouting dema- 
gogue, querulous fault - finder. As 
verb, to clamour, menace, abuse. 5. 
(Univ.), a big swell (i.e. one assert- 
ing himself or putting on side (q.v.) 
6. (American) A noisy coward, blatant 
bully, lamb (q.v.). 7. Whence to bark 
at (or against) the moon, to clamour 
uselessly, agitate to no effect, labour 
in vain : cf. proverb, Barking dogs 
bite not. 8. Generic for firearms, spec, 
(in navy), a duelling pistol ; also a 
lower deck gun. Barking iron is 
historically the older term (Grose). 
English synonyms, blue lightning, 
dag, meat - in - the - pot, my uncon- 
verted friend, one-eyed scribe, pop, 
peacemaker, whistler. 

Barkey. Any kind of vessel : an 
endearment. [Bark for vessel is 
never used by sailors (Clark Russell).] 

Barla-fumble ! A call for truce or 
quarter : also barley. 

Barley. In general colloquial use : 
thus, oil of barley (or barley - bree, 
broth, -juice, -water, or -wine), (1) 
strong ale, and (2) whisky (Grose) ; 
barley-island, an alehouse ; John Bar- 
ley (or Barleycorn), the personification 
of malt liquor : cf. proverb, Sir John 
Barleycorn's the strongest knight ; 
barley - cap, a tippler ; barley-mood (or 
sick) (1) drunk; and (2) ill-humour 
caused by tippling ; also to have (or 
wear) a barley-hat (-cap, or -hood) 

Barley-bun gentleman. A gent 
(although rich) yet lives with 
barley bread, and otherwise barely 
and hardly (Minsheu). 

Barley-straw. A trifle (1721). 

Barmecide. Usually in the phrase 
a Barmecide feast, short commons ; 
lenten entertainment. [From the 
Arabian Nights story of a prince of 
that name who put a series of empty 
dishes before a beggar pretending that 
they formed a sumptuous repast, the 
beggar facetiously assenting.] Also 
as adj. 

Barmy (Balmy). Excited, flighty, 
empty-headed (i.e. full of nothing but 
froth) ; barmy-brained, crazy ; barmy- 
froth, a simpleton, muddle-head ; to 
put on the balmy stick (prison), to feign 
madness. English synonyms: to be 
dotty, off one's chump, sappy, spoony, 
touched, wrong in the upper storey, 
half-baked, have a screw loose, a bee 



Ban ell's Blues. 

in one's bonnet, no milk in the cocoa- 
nut, rats in the upper storey (or cock- 
loft), a tile (screw or slate) loose. 

Barn. See Parson's barn. 

Barnaby. To dance Barnaby, to 
move expeditiously, irregularly ( Grose): 
an old dance to a quick movement was 
so named. Barnaby-bright (or Long 
Barnaby), St. Barnabas's Day, llth 
June, O.S. : cf. old rhyme 
Barnaby Bright ! Barnaby Bright : 
The longest day and the shortest night. 

Barnacle. 1. A close companion, a 
follower that will not be dismissed, a 
leech ; hence a decoy swindler (1591) : 
cf. Barnard. 2. One that speaketh 
through the nose (Percivatt). 3. 
A good job, or snack easily got 
(B. E. ). 4. A gratuity given to grooms 
by the buyers and sellers of horses 
(B. E.). 5. In pi., spectacles, bossers 
(q.v.), goggles (q.v.): Fr., persiennes: 
formerly applied only to spectacles 
with side-pieces of coloured glass, and 
used more as protectors from wind, 
dust, etc., than as an aid to the sight 
(1571). 6. A brake for unruly 
horses' noses (B. E.). 7. The irons 
felons wear in gaol (B. E.). 

Barnard. A sharper's confederate ; a 
decoy : cf. Barnacle. (1532.) 

Barnburner. A member of the 
radical section of the Democratic party 
(U.S.A.). (1848.) 

Barndoor. 1. A target too large to 
be easily missed ( 1547) : hence barn- 
door practice, a battue : the quarry is 
driven within a radius from which it is 
impossible for it to escape ; 2. applied 
at cricket to a player who blocks 
every ball. 

Barndoor-savage. A country yokel, 
farm-labourer, clodhopper. 

Barnet ! (Christ's Hospital : ob- 
solete). Nonsense ! humbug ! 

Barnet-fair (or Barnet). The hair. 

Barney. 1. Generic for humbug or 
deceit : spec, (sporting) an unfair 
competition of any kind a race, prize 
fight, or game ; the term is never ap- 
plied to a fair contest ; hence a free 
fight, or rough and tumble, in which 
the rules of the game are not too 
strictly observed. 2. A spree, lark 
(q.v.), picnic (q.v.). 3. A bad recita- 
tion (Harvard College, c. 1810). As 
verb, to recite badly. 

Barn - mouse. Bitten by a barn- 
mouse, tipsy, screwed (q.v.) : see 
Barley (Grose), 

Barn-stormer. A strolling player : 
spec, a mouthing actor (see quot. 
1886) : also barnstorming. 

Barnumese. The high-f abating (q.v.) 
language so lavishly used by the late 
P. T. Barnum in advertising the 
greatest show on earth, exaggeration 
of style : cf. Telegraphese : hence to 
barnumize (1) to exhibit with a lavish 
display of puffing advertisement ; and 
(2) to talk of (or assert) oneself bom- 
bastically in the style of Barnum. 

Baronet. A sirloin of beef : cf. 
Baron. (1749.) 

Barrack. To jeer at opponents, 
interrupt noisily, make a disturbance ; 
also with for, to support as a partisan, 
generally with clamour : an Australian 
football term dating from about 1880 : 
the verb has been ruled unparlia- 
mentary by the Speaker in the Vic- 
torian Legislative Assembly, but it is 
in very common colloquial use : it is 
from the aboriginal word borak (q.v.), 
and the sense of jeering is earlier than 
that of supporting, but jeering at one 
side is akin to cheering for the other 
(Morris). Hence barracking and bar- 

Barrack- (or Garrison) -hack. 1. A 
young woman attending garrison balls 
year after year. 2. A soldiers' trull : 
see Hackney. 

Barred-gown. An officer of the law ; 
spec, a judge : broad stripes or bars of 
gold lace run across the front of the 

Barrel. 1. A confirmed tippler : 
also beer-barrel ; whence barrel-house 
(American), a low groggery ; barrel- 
fever, drunkenness (or disease caused 
by tippling ) : see Gallon-distemper ; 
barrel-boarder , a bar loafer. 2. Money 
used in a political campaign (Ameri- 
can politics) ; spec, that expended for 
corrupt purposes : cf. Boodle ; barrel- 
campaign, an election in which bribery 
is a leading feature : a wealthy candi- 
date for office (c. 1876) is said to have 
remarked, Let the boys know that 
there's a bar* I o' money ready for 'em, 
or words to that effect. Never (or the 
devil) a barrel the better herring, much 
like, not a pin to choose between them, 
six of one and half a dozen of the 
other. (1542). 

Barrel-bellied. Well - rounded in 
stomach, corpulent. ( 1 694. ) 

BarreU's Blues. The Fourth Foot, 
now The King's Own (Royal Lanca- 



Bates' Farm. 

hire Regiment) : from its facings and 
Colonel's name from 1734 to 1739. 

Barres. Money lost at play, but not 
paid : a corruption of barrace, an 
obsolete plural of bar. 

B a r r i k i n. Gibberish, jargon, 
jumble of words. (1851.) 

BarringOut A half serious 
bat oftentimes jocular rebellion of 
schoolboys against their schoolmaster. 
[HaUiweil. An ancient custom at 
schools : the boys, a few days before 
the holidays, barricade the school 
room from the master, and stipulate 
for *-he discipline of the next half year. 
According to Dr. Johnson, Addison, 
in 1683, was the leader in an affair of 
this kind at Lichfield.] 

Barrow- bun ter. A barrow-woman, 
a female costermonger. (1771.) 

Barrow-man. A man under sen- 
tence of transportation. 

Barrow- tram. A raw-boned person : 
properly the shaft of a wheelbarrow. 

Barter (Winchester College). A 
half volley : as verb, to bit hard. 
[From the Warden of that name 
famous for disposing of them.] Hit- 
ting barters, practice catching, full 
pitches hit from the middle of Turf 
towards Ball - Court for catching 
practice towards the end of Long 

Bartholomew Baby. 1. A gaudily 
dressed doll, such as appears to have 
been commonly sold at Bartholomew 
Fair. 2. A person gaudily dressed. 

Bartholomew-pig. Roasted pigs 
were formerly among the chief attrac- 
tions of Bartholomew Fair, West Smith- 
field, London : they were sold pip- 
ing hot, in booths and on stalls, 
and ostentatiously displayed, to excite 
the appetite of passengers. Hence a 
Bartholomew-pig became a common 
subject of allusion : the Puritan railed 
against it 

Bar ts. St. Bartholomew Hospital. 

Bash. To beat, thrash, crush out of 
shape. Bashing, a flogging, spec, with 
the cat ; basher (1) a rough ; and (2) 
a prize-fighter. 

Bashaw. 1. A pasha. 2. A great (or 
imperious) man, grandee. (1593.) 

Bashi - Bazouk. A ruffian : used 
loosely as a more or less mild term of 
opprobrium ; also applied to anything 
bizarre in character or composition : 
the expression came into vogue during 
the period when the Bulgarian atro- 

cities were electrifying the world by 
their barbarous cruelty. 

Bash-rag. A ragamuffin. 

Basil. A fetter : usually fastened 
on the ankle of one leg only. (1592.) 

Basin. A schooner (q.v.). 

Baske t. An exclamation frequen tly 
made use of in cockpits where persons, 
unable to pay their losings, are ad- 
judged to be put into a basket BUS- 
pended over the pit, there to remain 
till the sport is concluded (Grose). To 
go to the basket, to go to prison : poor 
prisoners in public gaols were mainly 
dependent on the almsbasket for sus- 
tenance (1632) ; to pin the basket, to 
conclude a matter ; to be left in the 
basket, to remain unchosen ; left to the 
last ; the pick of the basket, the best, 
choicest ; to bring to the basket, to re- 
duce to poverty ; to leave in the basket, 
to leave in the lurch. 

Basket-scrambler. One living on 
charity, in receipt of alms. 

Bass. A familiar abbreviation 
for Bass' ale, brewed at Burton-on- 

Bass. A kiss: see Buss (1450). 
Also as verb. 

Basta. It is enough ! No more ! 
No matter ! 

Baste. To thrash, beat soundly : 
cf. Anoint (1533). Basting, a cudgel- 
ling, tanning (q.v.). 

Baster. 1. A house thief (q.v.). 
2. A stick, cudgel. 3. A heavy blow. 

B a s t i 1 e. A workhouse. 2. A 
prison, steel (q.v.). 

Bat 1. A prostitute : cf. Fly-by- 
night : Fr. hirondelle de nuit. 2. A 
drunken frolic : see Batter. 3. Pace, 
speed, rate, manner, style : e.g. 
going off at a lively bat Off one's 
own bat, by oneself, through one's 
own exertions, unaided (1845); to 
bat the eye*, (1) to blink, wink ; (2) to 
look on, watch ; of a bystander not 
playing ; to carry out one's bat, to 
outlast all opponents, secure result 
aimed at 

Batch. To live single : of both sexes : 
a corruption of ' batchelor.' 

Batchelor's Son. A bastard. 

Bate. Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton, 
an expression of credulity (1570), 
Excuse me ! 

Bates' Farm (or Garden). Coldbath 
Fields prison : from a warder of that 
name and a certain appropriateness in 



Bayard of Ten Toes. 

the initials, C.B.F., the prison initials, 
and used as a stamp, Charley Bates' 
farm. To feed the chickens on Charley 
Bates' Farm, to be put to the tread- 

Bat-fowler. A swindler, sharper, 
victimiser of the unwary. Bat-fowl- 
ing, swindling, rookery (1602). 

Bath. Go to Bath, a contemptuous 
injunction to be off, Go to Blazes, 
Hull, Halifax anywhere : the in- 
junction was intensified by, 'and get 
your head shaved,' a suggestion of 
craziness. To go to Bath, to go beg- 
ging : Bath in the latter days of the 
17th century was infested with the 
cadging fraternity. 

Bathing Machine. A 10-ton brig. 

Batie-bum (or Batie- bummil). 
A useless bungler, slowcoach, inactive 
helpless fellow (1550), 

Bat-mugger (Winchester College). 
A wooden instrument used for rubbing 
oil into cricket bats. 

Bats. A pair of bad or old boots. 
Elworthy, in West Somerset Words, 
gives this as a heavy laced boot with 

Bats Down. How many bats 
down ? i.e. how many wickets have 
fallen ? 

Battels. The weekly bills of students 
at Oxford. Dr. Murray says much de- 
pends on the original sense at Oxford : 
if this was food, provisions, it is 
natural to connect it with battle, 
to feed, or receive nourishment. It 
appears that the word has apparently 
undergone progressive extensions of 
application, owing partly to changes 
in the internal economy of the colleges. 
Some Oxford men of a previous gener- 
ation state that it was understood by 
them to apply to the buttery accounts 
alone, or even to the provisions ordered 
from the buttery, as distinct from the 
commons supplied from the kitchen : 
but this latter use is disavowed by 
others. Also as verb, and Battler, an 
Oxford student, formerly used in con- 
tradistinction to a gentleman com- 

Batter. Wear and tear ; e.g. the 
batter is more than can be stood for 
long. To go on the batter, to indulge 
in debauchery of any kind drunken- 
ness, prostitution, etc. Battered, drunk : 
see Screwed. 

Batterfang. To beclaw, attack with 
fists and nails (1630). 

B 33 

Battle. See Battels. Phrases, to 
give the battle, to acknowledge defeat, 
grant the victory ; to have the battte, to 
be the victor (1400) ; half the battle (of 
anything that contributes largely to 

Battledore. Not to know a B from 
a battledore, to be utterly illiterate 
(1553) ; to say B (or Bo I) to a battle- 
dore, to open one's mouth, to speak : 
cf. Bo to a goose (1592). 

Battledore-boy. An abecedarian. 

Battle of the Nile. A hat, tile: 
see Cady. 

Battle-royal. A general squabble, 
free fight : spec, of two termagant 
women (1672). 

Battle- wright. A soldier. 

Battlings. A weekly allowance of 
money : at Winchester it is Is., while 
at Repton it is only 6d : also see 
Battels, passim. 

Battner. An ox : The cove has 
hushed the battner, i.e. has killed 
the ox (B. E.). 

Batty. Wages ; perquisites : from 
batta, an extra pay given to soldiers 
while serving in India. Col. Yule 
says in Indian banking, batty means 
difference in exchange, discount on 
coins not current (or of short weight). 

Baubee. See Bawbee. 

Bauble (Bable or Bawbell). A toy, 
trinket, trifle (B. E.). To deserve the 
baubel, to be foolish : the baubel being 
the Court jester's baton surmounted 
by a carved head with ass' ears j to 
give the baubel, to befool. 

Baulk. 1. A false report (especially 
that a master is at hand), which is 
sported (q.v.), not spread. 2. A false 
shot, a mistake. 

Baum. To fawn, flatter, curry 
favour (Hall). 

Bawbee (or Baubee). A halfpenny 
(B. E.). 

Bawcock. A burlesque term of en- 
dearment, my good fellow, my fine 

Bawdy-baskets. The twenty-third 
rank of Canters, with Pins, Tape, Ob- 
scene Books, etc., to sell, but live 
more by stealing (B. E.). 

Bawdy- house- bottle. A very 
small one (B. E.). 

Baw-waw. An exclamation of con- 
tempt (1599). As adj., contemptibly 

Bayard of Ten Toes. 1. The feet, 
Shanks mare, Marrowbone stage 

Bay State. 


(1606). To ride bayard of ten toes, to 
go OD foot ; as bold as blind Bayard (of 
those who do not look before they leap) ; 
hence generic for blindness, ignorance, 
or recklessness. Bayard was a horse 
famous in old romances. 

Bay State. The State of Massa- 
chusetts : orig. the Colony of Massa- 
chusetts Bay. 

Bayswater Captain. A sponger 
(q.v.), adventurer: cf. Dryland sailor. 

Bay Window. Fat, pregnant, lumpy 


Beach - cadger. A beggar whose 
pitch is at watering - places and 

Beach-comber. 1. A long wave roll- 
ing in from the ocean. 2. A settler on 
islands in the Pacific, living by means 
more or less reputable : comprising 
runaway seamen, and deserters from 
whalers. 3. A sea-shore loafer, one 
on the look-out for odd jobs. 4. A 
river boatman. 5. A wrecker, water- 
rat (q.v.). 

Beach- tram per. A coastguards- 
man, shingle smasher. 

Bead. To draw a bead, to attack 
an opponent by speech or otherwise : 
from backwoods parlance ; to raise a 
bead, to bring to the point, ensure 
success : from brandy, rum, or other 
liquors, which will not raise a bead 
unless of the proper strength ; to bid a 
bead, to offer prayer ; beads-bidding, 
prayer ; to say (tell, or count) one's 
beads, to say prayers ; to pray without 
one's beads, to be out of one's reckoning. 

Beadledom. Red-tapism, formal- 
ity, stupid officiousness (1860). 

Beady. Full of bubbles, frothy 

Beagle, subs. (old). A spy ; in- 
former ; man-hunter, policeman ; also 
a general term of contempt (1559). 

Beak. 1 . A constable (also barman - 
beck), policeman, guardian of the 
peace : as far as is known, this (as 
beck) is the oldest cant term for one 
of a class of men. In Harman's Caveat 
(1573), harman beck is explained as 
'the counstable, harmans being the 
stockes.' 2. A magistrate : some- 
times beak of the law. 3. The 
nose : see Conk (1598). 4. (Eton and 
Marlborough Schools). A master : 
5. A thrust, poke (1592). Birds of a 
beak, birds of a feather (q.v.). 

Beaker. A fowl : also Beak. Cackl- 
ing-cheat (q.v.) : Fr., estable, or estaphle 

Beaker-hunter. A poultry thief: 
also Beak-hunter. 

Beak-gander. A judge of the High 
Court of Justice. 

Beaksman. A policeman. 

Be - all and End - all. The whole, 
everything, the blooming lot (q.v.) 

Beam. An authorised standard of 
criticism, manners, morals, etc. To 
kick (or strike) the beam, to be over- 
powered, in a tight place (or corner). 

Beam Ends. To be thrown on one's 
beam ends, ( 1 ) tobe in bad circumstances, 
at one's last shift, hard-up : a metaphor 
drawn from sea - faring life : a ship is 
said to be on her beam ends when on 
her side by stress of weather, or shifting 
of cargo, as to be submerged (1830), 
2. Also, less figuratively, to be thrown 
to the ground, reduced to a sitting 
or lying posture. 

Bean (or Bien). 1. A sovereign, 20s.: 
formerly a guinea : in America five- 
dollar gold pieces : see Half -bean and 
Haddock of Deans : in old French cant, 
biens meant money or property : see 
Rhino. 2. pi., small coal (Newcastle). 
Full of beans, in good form (or con- 
dition), full of health, spirits, or capa- 
city, aa a horse after a good feed of 
beans. To give beans, to chastise, 
give a good drubbing. Like beans, in 
good form (style, time, etc.), with 
force : a general expression of ap- 
proval ana praise : cf. Like blazes, 
(bricks, or one o'clock). Not to care 
(or be worth) a bean, to hold in little 
esteem, think lightly of, be of little 
value : the allusion is to the small 
worth or value of a bean, or the 
black of a bean (1297). Beany, in 
good humour a metaphor drawn from 
the stable. To know beans, to be well- 
informed, sharp and shrewd, within 
the charmed circle of the cultured 
elect, fully equipped in the upper 
storey. To know how many blue beans 
make five white ones, this is generally 
put in the form of a question, the 
answer to which is Five, if peeled, 
and those who fail to get tripped by 
the catch are said to know how many, 
etc. ; in other words to be cute, know- 
ing, wide awake. To draw a bean, to 
get elected : an allusion to the former 
use of beans in balloting ; to have the 
bean, to be first and foremost ; in re- 
ference to the custom of appointing 
as king of the company on Twelfth 


Bean Belly. 


Night, the man in whose portion of 
the cake the bean was found (1556). 
Also proverbial, Hunger maketh 
hard beans sweet ; It is not for 
idleness that men sow beans in the 
wind (i.e. labour in vain) ; Every 
bean hath its black. Three blue beans 
in a blue bladder, noisy talk, clap-trap, 
froth (1600). 

Bean Belly. A Leicestershire man : 
from a real or supposed fondness of the 
inhabitants of this county for beans. 

Bean-feast. An annual feast given 
by employers to their work - people. 
The derivation is uncertain, and, at 
present, there is little evidence to go 
upon. Some have suggested its origin 
in the prominence of the bean goose, or 
even beans at these spreads ; others 
refer it to the French bien, good, i.e. 
a good feast (by-the-bye, tailors call 
all good feeds bean - feasts) ; whilst 
others favour its derivation from the 
modern English bene, a request or soli- 
citation, from the custom of collecting 
subscriptions to defray the cost : also 
called a wayzgoose (q.v.). 

Bean-f caster. One who takes part 
in a bean-feast (q.v.). 

Beano. The same as bean - feast 

Bean-pole (stick, or wood). A 
lanky person, lamp-post (q.v.). 

Bean Trap. A swell mobsman, 
stylish sharper. 

Beany. Full of vigour, fresh, like a 
bean-fed horse. 

Bear (Stock Exchange). 1. Ap- 
plied, in the first instance, to stock sold 
by jobbers for delivery at a certain 
date, on the chance of prices falling in 
the meantime, thus allowing the seller 
to re - purchase at a profit. At first 
the phrase was probably To sell the 
bear-skin, the buyers of such bar- 
gains being called bear-skin jobbers, 
in allusion to the proverb, To sell the 
bear's skin before one has caught the 
bear. So far, the origin of the phrase 
seems pretty clear ; of the date of its in- 
troduction, however, nothing is known. 
It was a common term in Stock Ex- 
change circles, at the time of the burst- 
ing of the South Sea Bubble in 1720, 
but it does not seem to have become 
colloquial until much later. In these 
transactions no stock was delivered,the 
difference being settled according to 
the quotation of the day, as is the prac- 
tice now in securities dealt with for 

the account. At present the term for 
such an arrangement is time-bargain. 
2. Hence a dealer who speculates for a 
fall. The earliest instance noted of 
this transferred usage is of the date 
1744. Fr., baissier : see Bull, Stag, 
and Lame Duck. 3. A rough, un- 
mannerly, or uncouth person ; hence 
the pupil of a private tutor, the latter 
being called a Bear - leader (q.v.); 
also called formerly Bridled-bear. To 
play the bear, to behave roughly and 
uncouthly (1579). As verb, to act as 
a bear (q.v.). Are you there with your 
bears ? A greeting of surprise at the 
reappearance of anybody or anything ; 
are you there again ; What, again ! 
so soon ? The phrase is explained by 
Joe Miller, as the exclamation of a 
man who, not liking a sermon he had 
heard on Elisha and the bears, went 
next Sunday to another church, only to 
find the same preacher and the same 
discourse (1642). To bear the bell 
(coals, palm, etc.), see the nouns ; to 
bear low sail, to demean oneself humbly 
( 1300) ; to bear a blow, to strike ; to bear 
up, to cheat, swindle : see Bonnet. 
Bear a bob, (1) lend a hand, look sharp ! 
look alive ! (2) To aid, to assist, to 
take part in anything. 

Beard. In spite of one's beard, in 
opposition or defiance to a purpose ; 
to one's beard, openly, to one's face ; 
to run in one's beard, to oppose openly, 
face out ; to take by the beard, to attack 
resolutely ; to make one's beard, to out- 
wit, delude ; to make one's beard without 
a razor, to behead ; to put against the 
beard, to taunt. 

Bearded Cad (Winchester College). 
A porter, employed by the College 
to convey luggage from the railway 
station to the school : the term origin- 
ated in an extremely hirsute individ- 
ual who at one time acted in the 

Bear-garden. A scene of strife and 

Bear - garden Jaw, subs. (old). 
Rough, unmannerly speech ; talk akin 
to that used in bear gardens and other 
places of low resort (Grose). 

Be-argered. Drunk: see Screwed. 

Bearing. Acting as a bear (q.v.) ; 
or using artifices to lower the price of 
stock to suit a bear account. 

Bearings. To bring one to one's bear- 
ings, to bring one to reason, to act as 
a check. 




Bear-leader. A travelling tutor. 

Bear - play. Rough, tumultuous 

Bearskin-jobber. See Bear. 

Beast 1. Applied to anything un- 
pleasant ; or, to that which displeases ; 
e.g. It's a perfect beast of a day, for 
it's an unpleasant day : see Beastly. 
2. A new cadet at the U.S. Military 
Academy at West Point 3. (Cam- 
bridge University). One who has left 
school and come np to Cambridge 
for study, before entering the Uni- 
versity: because he is neither man 
nor boy. 

Beastly. In modern colloquial usage 
applied to whatever may offend the 
taste : cL awful* everlasting, etc. 

Beat 1. This word is used in many 
ways, its precise meaning often depend- 
ing on ita qualifying adjective. It is said 
of both men and things ; for example, 
a live beat is anybody or anything that 
surpasses another, and the sense is 
not derogatory in the least. A dead 
beat, on the other hand, is the name 
given to a man who sponges on his 
fellows. [Probably from that sense 
of beat signifying to overcome; to 
show oneself superior to, either in a 
good or bad sense.] 2. A daily round, 
duty, work, etc. ; and, figuratively, 
a sphere of influence (1788). As 
adj. (1) overcome, exhausted, done 
up: generally dead-beat (q.v.) ; (2) 
hence baffled, defeated. As verb, to 
swindle, deceive, cheat Daisy beat, 
a swindle of the first water, a robbery 
of magnitude. To beat hollow (to 
sticks, ribands, fits, all creation, to 
shivers, etc.), to excel, surpass (1759). 
To get a beat on, to get the advantage of. 
Other phrases are, to beat the air, to 
strive to no purpose (1375) ; to beat the 
rtreete, to walk to and fro ; tobeat over the 
old ground, to discuss topics already 
treated ; to beat about the bush, to act 
cautiously, approach warily or in a 
roundabout way (1572); to beat up, 
to visit unceremoniously ; to beat the 
brains, (head, etc.), to think per- 
sistently ; to beat out, to exhaust, 
overpower ; to beat the hoof, to 
walk, go on foot, plod, prowl (1596) ; 
to beat the rib (see Rib). To beat the 
booby (or goose), to strike the hands 
across the chest and under the arm pits 
to warm them : formerly to beat Jonas ; 
to beat the road, to travel by rail without 

paying. That beats the Dutch! (see 
Dutch). To beat daddy mammy, to 
tattoo, practise the elements of drum 
beating. To beat down to bed-rock (see 
Bedrock). To beat out, impoverished, 
in one's last straits, hard up. 

Beater-cases. Boots, shoes, now 
nearly obsolete. Trotter-cases (q.v.) 
being the usual term nowadays. 

Beaters. The feet : Barclay in Shyp 
of Polys (1509), speaks of 'night 
watchers and beters of the stretes : ' 
see Creepers. 

Beating-stock. A subject of fre- 
quent chastisement : cf. Laughing- 

Beauetry. Dandyism, dandy out- 
fit : a humorous imitation of coquetry 

Beau Trap. 1 . A loose stone in a pave- 
ment, under which water lodges, and 
which, on being trodden upon, squirts 
it up. 2. A well-dressed sharper, on 
the look-out for raw country visitors 
and such like. 3. A fop, well-dressed 
outwardly, but whose linen, person, 
and habits generally are unclean. 

B eau ty. A term applied, on the rule 
of contrary, to the plainest or ugliest 
cadet in the class at the United States 
Military Academy at West Point It 
was great beauty, it was a fine sight ; 
That's the beauty of it, That's just as it 
should be : as affording special pleasure 
or satisfaction. 

Beauty-sleep. Sleep before mid- 
night, the idea being that early hours 
conduce to health and beauty ( 1850). 

Beauty-spot. Ironically of a pimple 
or other blemish on the face or other 
exposed parts of the person. 

Beaver, subs, (common). An old 
term for a hat; goss, cady (1528): 
at one time hats were made of beaver's 
fur hence the name ; the term is still 
occasionally applied to tall chimney- 
pot hats, but for many years silk has 
replaced the skin of the rodent in their 
manufacture. In beaver, in a tall hat 
and non-academical garb, as distin- 
guished from cap and gown (1840). 
See also Bever. 

Beck. 1. A constable : see Beak. 2. 
A parish beadle ; apparently the term 
was applied to all kinds of watch- 
men : see Harman-beck. As verb, to 
imprison : amongst Dutch thieves 
bfJcaan has the same signification. 

Bed. To put to bed with a pickaxe 
and shovel, to bury. 




Bedder (Cambridge University). A 
charwoman ; one who makes the beds 
and performs other necessary domestic 
duties for residents in college. 

Bed-fagot. 1. Applied contemp- 
tuously to a woman ; cf. hussy, 
witch, etc. 2. A wanton. 

Bedfordshire. Sheet alley (q.v.), 
blanket fair (q.v.), the land of Nod 
(q.v.), etc. (1665). 

Bedful of Bones. A skinny, bony, 
bedfellow (1621). 

Bedoozle. To confuse, to bewilder : 
probably a corrupt form of the old 
English verb bedazzle, used by 
Shakespeare in Taming of the Shrew, 
IV. v. 46 (1593). 

Bedpost. In the twinkling of a bedpost, 
instantaneously, with great rapidity : 
originally in the twinkling of a bedstaff 
(1660). Among English synonyms 
may be included : in a jiffy, in two 
two's, in a brace of shakes, before you 
can say Jack Robinson, in a crack, in 
the squeezing of a lemon. Between 
you and me and the bed-post, a humor- 
ous tag to an assertion ; i.e. between 
ourselves I know what you say, 
but, between you and me, etc. . . . the 
thing is absurd : sometimes the last 
word is varied by post, door post, 
or gate post any prop will serve 

Bedrock. To get down to bedrock, to 
get at the bottom of matters, thorough- 
ly understand, get in on the ground 
floor (q.v.) : a miner's term, alluding 
to the solid rock underlying superficial 
and other formations. Bedrock fact, 
a chiel that winna ding, the incon- 
testable and incontrovertible truth. 

Bedtime. The hour of death (Al- 

Bee. 1. A sweet writer. 2. A 
busy worker. 3. A working party of 
neighbours and friends for the benefit 
of one of their number ; as when a 
party of settlers combine to erect a 
log-house for a newcomer, or when 
farmers unite to gather one another's 
harvests in succession : e.g. apple-bee, 
raising bee, etc. ; hence, a social gather- 
ing for some specific purpose, as spelling 
bee. To have a bee in the head (brains, 
garret, or bonnet,) to have queer ideas, 
be half-cracked, nighty ; this phrase is 
of considerable antiquity, being traced 
back to a Scotch writer, Gawin 
Douglas by name [1474-1521], Bishop 
of Dunkeld, who used it in a transla- 

tion of Virgil's JEneid. Hence, bee- 
bonneted (or bee-headed) crazed ; bee- 
head, a crazy pate : see Buffle. 

Beef. 1. Human flesh (a trans- 
ferred sense) ; i.e. obese, stolid, fleshy 
like an ox. 2. By a further transi- 
tion beef has also come to signify 
men, strength, hands ; More beef I a 
bo' sun's exhortation to extra exertion. 
To be in a man's beef, to wound with a 
sword (Grose). To cry (or give) beef (or 
hot beef), to give an alarm, pursue, set 
up a hue and cry : it has been suggested 
that beef in this case is a rhyming 
synonym for thief. To be dressed 
like Christmas beef, to be decked out 
in one's best raiment. To make beef, 
to run away, decamp. Beef to the 
heels, like a Mullingar Heifer, said of a 
stalwart man, or a fine woman ; i.e. 
one whose superiority is manifest from 
the crown of the head to the sole of the 
foot ; literally, all beef down to the heels. 
Beef up I phr. Put on your strength ! 
Give a long pull and a strong pull ! 
To beef it, originally a provincialism, 
but now common in the East End of 
London : to take a meat meal, more 
particularly of beef. 

Beef - brained. Doltish, obtuse, 

Beef-head. A dolt ; a stupid, thick- 
headed person : see Buffle. 

Beefment. On the beefment, on the 
alert, on the look out. 

Beef-stick. The bone in a joint of 
beef. At mess it is First come, best 
served ; and those who come last 
sometimes get little more than the 

Beef Straight See Straight. 

Beef - witted. See Beef-brained 

Beefy. Fleshy, unduly thick, obese : 
a run of luck and good fortune, gener- 
ally, is likewise referred to as beefy. 
Whence beefiness. 

Bee-line. To take (or make) a bee- 
line, to go direct, as the crow flies, 
without circumlocution. Bees, when 
fully laden with pollen, make for the 
hive in a straight, or bee-line. One 
of the American railways is called the 
Bee Line Road from the direct route it 
takes between its termini (1849). 

Beelzebub's Paradise. Hell, the 
infernal regions. 

Been. Been in the sun, drunk : see 
Screwed. Been measured for a new 
umbrella, said sportively of any one 




appearing in new, ill fitting clothes, 
or who has struck out a new line of 
action, the wisdom of which is doubt- 
ful : the joke is an old one and refers to 
a man of whom it was said that nothing 
fitted him but his umbrella. Oh yes, 
Pve, been there ; I know what I am 
about. A popular exclamation : when 
it is said of a man that he has been 
there, shrewdness, pertinacity, and 
experience are implied. 

Beer. To drink beer, also, to do a beer. 
To be in beer, drunk : see Screwed. To 
think no email beer of oneself, to possess 
a good measure of self-esteem (1840) : 
see Small-beer. 

Beer an d Bi ble. An epithet applied 
sarcastically to a political party which 
first came into prominence during the 
last Beaconsfield Administration, and 
which was called into being by a 
measure introduced by the moderate 
Liberals in 1873, with a view to placing 
certain restrictions upon the sale of 
intoxicating drinks. The Licensed 
Victuallers, an extremely powerful 
association whose influence extended 
all over the kingdom, took alarm, 
and turned to the Conservatives for 
help in opposing the bill. In the 
ranks of the latter were numbered the 
chief brewers ; the leaders of the asso- 
ciation, moreover, had mostly strong 
high -church tendencies, while one of 
them was president of the Exeter Hall 
organization. The Liberals, noting 
these facts, nicknamed this alliance 
the Beer and Bible Association ; the 
Morning Advertiser, the organ of the 
Licensed Victuallers, was dubbed the 
Beer and Bible Gazette ; and lastly, 
electioneering tactics ascribed to them 
the war cry of Beer and Bible I This 
so-called Beer and Bible interest made 
rapid strides : in 1 870 the Conservatives 
were at their low-water mark among 
the London constituencies ; but, in 
1 880, they had carried seats in the City, 
Westminster, Marylebone, Tower Ham- 
lets, Greenwich, and Southwark. A 
notable exception to this strange 
fellowship was Mr. Bass [afterwards 
Lord Bass], of pale-ale fame, who held 
aloof from opposition to the measure 
in question. Anent the nickname 
Beer and Bible Gazette, given to the 
Morning Advertiser, it may be men- 
tioned that it had already earned for 
itself a somewhat similar sobriquet. 
For a long time this paper devoted 

one-half of its front page to notices of 
publicans and tavern-keepers ; while 
the other half was filled up with 
announcements of religious books, 
and lists of preachers at the London 
churches and chapels. This gained 
for the paper the sobriquet of the Gin 
and Gospel Gazette. 

Beer and Skittles. Generally, Not all 
beer and skittles, i.e. not altogether 
pleasant, or couleur de rose. 

Beer- barrel. The human body : cf. 

Beeriness (or Beery), pertaining to 
a state of (or approaching to) drunken- 
ness, intoxicated, fuddled with beer : 
see Screwed (1857). 

Beer-jerker (or -slinger). A tippler: 
see Lushington. 

Beerocracy, subs, (common). The 
brewing and beer-selling interest : a 
humorous appellation in imitation of 
aristocracy : cf. Mobocracy, Cotton- 
ocracy, etc. 

Beeswax. 1. Poor, soft cheese, 
sweaty-toe cheese (q.v.) (1821). 2. A 
bore ; one who button-holes another ; 
generally Old beeswax. 

Beeswaxers (Winchester College). 
Thick boots : used for football : prob- 
ably from being smeared with bees- 
wax to supple them : pronounced 

Beeswing. A gauzy film or crust, in 
port wines, the result of age, so called 
from its appearance when broken up 
in the process of decanting. Hence 
also Beeswinged ( 1846). Ola beeswing, 
a nickname for any one, but especi- 
ally for one who takes to his liquor 

Beetle. Deaf (dumb, or dull) as a 
beetle, a type of dulness or stupidity, 
blockishness ; beetle-brain (-or head), a 
term of contempt : cf. Blockhead. 

Bee tie-crusher (or bee tle-squasher), 
1. A large foot : the term was popu- 
larised by Leech in Punch. 2. A 
large boot or shoe : also Beetle-cases. 
3. An infantry soldier ; a cavalry term : 
see Mud-crusher. 

Beetle-crushing. With solid tread, 
such as comes from large heavy feet in 
boots or shoes to match ; e.g. the 
marching of infantry. 

Beetles. Colorado mining shares. 

Beetle-sticker. An entomologist. 

Before. Before the wind, in prosper- 
ous circumstances, out of debt or 


Begad ! 


Begad ! A corruption of By God ! 
and, as such, a euphemistic oath 

Beggar. 1. A term of contempt ; 
a mean or low fellow. 2. An endear- 
ment : cf. baggage, dog, rogue, etc. 
Also phrases : A beggar's wallet is 
never filled (1539) ; Beggars should 
not be choosers (1562) ; A beggar 
may sing before a thief (1562) ; I 
know him as well as a beggar knows 
his bag ; Beggars mounted run their 
horses to death ; Rich when young, 
a beggar when old ; As great as 
beggars; Sue a beggar and catch a 
louse ; Set a beggar on horseback 
and he'll ride to the devil. Beggar the 
thing ! confound it, or, hang the 

Beggared. Ptt be beggared if, etc., an 
emphatic asseveration ; i.e. I'll give 
up everything, even to being reduced 
to beggary, if, etc. 

Beggar-maker. A publican. 

Beggars. The small cards from the 
deuce to the ten. 

Beggar's Brown. Scotch snuff : 
made of the stem of tobacco. 

Beggar's Bullets (or Bolts). Stones 

Beggar's Bush. To go home by 
beggar's bush, to go to ruin (1686). 

Beggar's Plush. Corduroy (1688). 

Beggar's Velvet. Downy particles 
which accumulate under furniture : 
otherwise called sluts'-wool (q.v.). 

Begin. To begin upon a person, to 
attack, assault. 

Begosh 1 B'gosh I An expletive 
(probably of negro origin), a half veiled 

Behind. 1. The posterior. 2. (Eton 
and Winchester Colleges). A back at 
football : at Eton called short behind 
and long behind, usually abbreviated 
to short and long ; at Winchester, 
second behind and last behind : these 
answer to the half-back and back of 
Association football : at Winchester, 
in the Fifteens, there is also a third 
behind. Behind one's side (Winchester 
College). Said of a man when nearer 
the opponent's goal than the player of 
his team who last touched the ball. 

Beilby's Ball. An Old Bailey 
execution (Grose). 

Bejan, Baijan (Scotch University). 
A freshman student of the first year at 
the Universities of St. Andrews and 
Aberdeen : it is now obsolete at Edin- 

burgh : from the French bee jaune, 
yellow beak, in allusion to the colour 
of the mandibles of young birds. The 
term was adopted from the University 
of Paris ; but, signifying a novice, 
it has been in more or less general use 
for nearly three hundred years. At 
Aberdeen, the second-class students 
are semi-bejans ; in the third tertians ; 
while those in the highest rank are 

Belph. Beer, especially poor beer : 
because of its liability to cause eructa- 
tion. One of Shakespeare's characters 
in Twelfth Night is Sir Toby Belch, a 
reckless, roystering, jolly knight of the 
Elizabethan period. 

Belcher. 1. A neckerchief named 
after Jim Belcher, a noted pugilist : the 
ground is blue, with white spots : also 
any handkerchief of a similar pattern 
(1812). 2. A ring: with the crown 
and V.R. stamped upon them. 3. A 
beer drinker, a hard drinker (1598). 

Belial. Balliol College, Oxford. 

Believe. / believe you, employed to 
signify general assent ; Yes : some- 
times / believe you, my boy ; once a 
favourite catch-phrase of a well-known 

Bell. A song : a tramps' term : a 
diminutive of bellow. To bell a 
marble, to run away with it : the 
action scarcely amounts to actual 
theft. To ring one's own bell, to 
blow one's trumpet, to sound one's 
own praises. 

Bell - bastard. The illegitimate 
child of a woman who is herself 

Bellmare. A political leader, mostly 

Bellows. The lungs (1615). Bellows to 
mend, said of a broken-winded horse ; 
likewise of a man whose lungs are 
affected, or one who from any cause 
is out of health. 

Bellows-blower. 1. One exciting to 
strife. 2. An unskilled assistant, a 
mere hodman. 

Bellowsed. Transported, lagged : cf. 

Bellowser. 1. A blow in the pit of 
the stomach, a winder, that which takes 
the breath away. 2. A sentence of 
transportation for life. 

Bell-rope. Aggera waters (q.v.). 

Bellswagger. See Belswagger. 

Bell-topper. A silk hat : see Gol- 



Bell- we ther. 1 . A chief or leader : in 
contempt. 2. Clamorous person, a 
mouther (q.v.). Henoe BeUwethering 
and Kdlwetherishneas. 

Belly-ache. A colic. 

Belly-bender. A boy's term for 
weak and unsafe ice. 

Belly- bound. Constipated ; costive. 

Belly-bumper (or Belly-buster). 
To take a belly-butter, to ride downhill 
in a sled lying on one's stomach : an 
amusement of young America : the 
idea of tobogganing was derived from 
this boyish pastime : also Belly- bumbo, 
Belly-guts (or gutter). Belly-flounders, 
Belly-Sumps, and Belly-plumper. 

Belly-button. The navel. 

Belly-cheat (or Belly-chete). 1. 
An apron. 2. Food (1609). 

Belly-cheer (or Belly-chere). Food. 
Belly-cheering, eating, drinking (1559). 

Belly-critic. A connoisseur of good 

Belly-friend. A parasite, sponger 

Belly-full. A sound drubbing, a 
thrashing (1599). 

Belly-furniture. Food, something 
wherewith to furnish the belly : cf. 
Belly-timber, Back- timber, etc. (1653). 

Belly-god. A glutton (1540). 

Belly - go-firster. An initial blow, 
generally given, say some authorities, 
in the stomach whence its classic 
name ! 

Belly-grinding. Colic, a pain in the 

Belly-gut, subs. (old). A lazy, greedy 
fellow; slothful glutton (1540). 

Belly-guts. 1. In Pennsylvania, 
molasses candy. 2. Belly - bumper 

Belly-hedges (Shrewsbury School). 
In school steeplechases, obstructions 
of such a height that they can easily 
be cleared i.e. about belly-high. 

Belly-metal. Food. 

Belly-mountained. Prominent in 
the belly, footy-gutted (q.v.). 

Belly- paunch. A glutton, a great 

Belly- piece. 1. An apron: cf. Belly- 
cheat (1689). 2. A mistress, concubine 

Belly-pinched. Hungry. 

Belly Plea. A plea of pregnancy : 
urged by female felons capitally con- 
victed. The plea still holds good, 
execution of female convicts in an 
interesting condition being deferred 

until after accouchement : in practice, 
it really means a commutation of the 
death penalty for life imprisonment. 

Belly- plum per. See Belly-bumper. 

Belly-sacrifice. A gluttonous feast. 

Belly- slave. A glutton. 

Belly-swain. A glutton. 

Belly-timber. Food, provisions of 
all kinds : like many other words of its 
class (e.g. Back-timber, q.v.), once 
in serious use, but now a thorough- 
going vulgarism, only surviving dia- 
lectically, and as slang : Massinger and 
the older dramatists employed it 
seriously, toward the end of the seven- 
teenth century it began to be used in 
a ludicrous and vulgar sense. 

Belly-up. Enceinte. 

Belly- vengeance. Sour beer: as 
apt to cause gastralgia : Fr., pissin de 

Belongings. 1. Qualities, endow- 
ments, faculties. 2. Relations, one's 
kindred. 3. One's effects, possessions. 
4. Trousers. 

Belswagger,subs.(old). l.Alewdster, 
pimp (1775). 2. A bully, hector (1592). 

Belt. To strike below the belt, to act 
unfairly ; to take mean advantage, to 
stab a man in the back. 

Bel tinker. A beating, drubbing. As 
verb, to thrash, beat soundly. 

Bemused. Fuddled, in the stupid 
stage of drunkenness : see Screwed : 
usually bemused with beer (Pope). 

Ben. 1. A benefit, performance of 
which the receipts, after paying ex- 
penses, are devoted to one person's 
special use or benefit. 2. A fool : see 
Buffle (Orose). 3. A shortened form of 
Benjamin (q.v.), a coat ; also of Benjy 
(q.v.), a waistcoat. To stand ben, to 
stand treat. 

Benar. See Bene. 

Benbouse. Good beer (1567). 

Bench-babbler (or whistler). A 
loafer, one who sits idly on a bench : 
a generic reproach. 

Bencher. A frequenter of taverns, 
one who hulks about public houses. 

Ben Cull (or Cove). A friend, 
Pall (q.v.), companion. 

Bend. To tipple, drink hard (Jamie- 
son) (1758). Above one's bend, above 
one's ability (power or capacity), out 
of one's reach, above one s hook : in 
U.S. A. above my huckleberry (q.v.). 
Grecian bend, a craze amongst women 
which had a vogue from about 1872 to 
1880: it consisted in walking with 



the body bent forward. On the bend, 
in an underhand, oblique, or crooked 
way not on the square. Bend over 
(Winchester College), a direction to 
put oneself into position to receive a 
spanking : this is done by bending 
over so that the tips of the fingers ex- 
tend towards the toes, thus presenting 
a surface as tight as a drum for castiga- 

Bender. 1. A sixpence : see Rhino 
(1789). 2. A hard and persistent 
drinker, a tippler (1728). 3. In public 
school phraseology a stroke of the 
cane administered by the master while 
the culprit bends down his back. 4. 
The arm. 5. A drinking bout, spree. 6. 
The leg. 7. The bow-shaped segment 
of a paper kite. Over the bender, a 
variant of Over the left shoulder. 
As intj., an exclamation of incredulity, 
also used as a kind of saving clause to 
a promise which the speaker does not 
intend to carry into effect. 

Bendigo. A rough fur cap : named 
after a notorious pugilist. 

Bene, Ben. Good : this belongs to 
the most ancient English cant, and is 
probably a corruption from the Latin : 
benar and benat appear to have been 
used as comparatives of bene (1567). 
Stowe your bene, hold your tongue. 

Bene-bouze. See Benbouse. 

Bene-cove. See Ben-cull. 

Bene Darkmans ! Good-night ! 
French thieves say sorgabon, an in- 
version of bonne sorgue. 

Benedick. A newly-married man ; 
especially one who has long been a 
bachelor. Apparently, however, there 
is some confusion in the usage, for it 
also signifies a bachelor. 

Bene Feakers. Counterfeiters of 
bills (Grose). 

Bene Feakers of Gybes. Counter- 
feiters of passes (Grose). 

Bene (or Bien) Mort. A fine woman, 
pretty girl, hostess (1567). 

Beneship. See Benship (1567). 

Beneshiply. Worshipfully. 

Ben-flake. A steak. 

Bengal Tigers. The Seventeenth 
Foot, now the Leicestershire regiment : 
from its badge of a royal tiger granted 
for services in India from 1804-1823 : 
also called The Lily- Whites from its 

Bengi. An onion. 

Benish. Foolish. 

Benjamin (Winchester College). 1. 

A small ruler. 2. (thieves') A coat : 
said to have been derived from a well- 
known London advertising tailor of 
the same name. Upper Benjamin, a 
greatcoat (1815). 

Ben Joltram. Brown bread and 
skimmed milk ; a Norfolk term for a 
ploughboy's breakfast (Hotten). 

Benjy. 1. A low crowned straw hat 
having a very broad brim. 2. A 
waistcoat: also Ben (q.v.). 

Bens. Tools. 

Benship (or Beenship). Worship, 
goodness : this word, evidently from 
Beneship (q.v.), is given by Bailey 
(1728), and by Coles (1724), As adj., 
very good (1567). 

Beong. A shilling : see Rhino : 
from Italian bianco, white ; also the 
name of a silver coin. 

Beray. To defile, befoul, abuse : old 

Berkeleys. A woman's breasts. 

Bermudas. A district in London, 
similar to Alsatia in Whitefriars (q.v.), 
and the Mint in Southwark, privileged 
against arrests. The Bermudas are 
thought to have been certain narrow 
and obscure alleys and passages north 
of the Strand, near Covent Garden, and 
contiguous to Drury Lane. 

Berthas. London, Brighton, and 
South Coast Railway shares. 

Berwicks. The ordinary stock of the 
North Eastern Railway. 

Besom. A low woman. 

Besom-head. A blockhead, fool: 
see Buffle. Whence besom-headed. 

Besognio. 1. A raw soldier. 2. A 
needy beggar. 3. A worthless fellow. 

Bespeak-nigh t. A benefit. 

Bess. See Betty. 

Bess-o'- Bedlam. A lunatic vagrant. 

Best To best one. To obtain an 
advantage, secure a superior position 
in a contest or bargain, to worst, but 
not necessarily to cheat. To best the 
pistol, to get away before the signal for 
starting is actually given. To give one 
best,to leave one, sever companionship. 

Bester. A cheat, swindler : generally 
applied to a turf or gaming blackleg. 

Bet. 1. To bet one's eyes, to onlook, 
but to take no part in, nor bet upon 
the game. You bet ! Be assured, cer- 
tainly. 2. To bet round, to lay fairly and 
equally against nearly all the horses in 
a race, so that no great risk can be run : 
commonly called getting round (Hot- 



Bethel. In the year 1680 Bethel 
and Cornish were chosen sheriffs. The 
former used to walk about more like a 
corn-cutter than Sheriff of London. 
He kept no house, but lived upon 
chops, whence it is proverbial for not 
feasting to bethel the city (North). 
Little Bethel, a place of worship other 
than those of the established church : 
in contempt. 

Be there. See There. 

Better. More : there is no idea of 
superiority : a depraved word, once 
in good usage, but now regarded as a 
vulgarism (1587). Better half, a wife : 
originally my better half, i.e. the more 
than half of my being ; said of a very 
close and intimate friend : formerly also 
applied to the soul, as the better part 
of man (Murray) (1580). 

Be t tor Roun d. One who is addicted 
to betting round : see Bet. 

Betty. 1. A man who occupies him- 
self with household matters : in con- 
tempt. 2. A small instrument used 
by burglars to force open doors and 
pick locks : also Bess, now called a 
Jenny (1671). 3. A Florence flask: 
as used for olive oil. As verb (collo- 
quial), to potter about, fuss about. 
All betty ! a cry of warning, it's all up, 
the game is lost ! 

Betwattled. Surprised, confounded, 
out of one's senses, bewrayed (Grose). 

Between. Phrases: Bet vxen thebeetle 
and the block, in parlous state ; between 
the cup and the lip, as near as a toucher 
(q.v.) ; between the devil and the Dead 
(or deep blue) sea, at one's last resource, 
cornered (q.v.) ; between the bark and 
the wood (or tree), see Tree ; between you 
and me and the bedpost ; see Bedpost. 

Beyer. 1. Drink, liquor. 2. A 
potation, drinking bout, a time for 
drinking. 3. A small repast between 
meals, snack : especially a snack 
between mid-day dinner and supper 
(1500). Also as verb. 

Beverage (or Bevy). A tip, vail : 
equivalent to the FT., pourboire: money 
for drink, demanded (Grose) of any one 
having a new suit of clothes. 

Beware. ' We [strolling actors] call 
breakfast, dinner, tea, supper, all of 
them, numyare ; and all beer, 
brandy, water, or soup, are beware' 

Beyond. The back of beyond, an 
out-of-the-way place, ever so far off 

B Flat A bug : cf. F sharps : see 
Norfolk Howards. 

Bib. To nap a bib (or one'' a bib), to 
weep, blubber, snivel, Best bib 
and tucker, best-clothes. 

Bibables (or Bibibles). Drink, as 
distinguished from food : a coinage 
on the model of edibles, eatables, 
drinkables, etc. 

Bib-all-night A toper, confirmed 
drunkard : see Lushington (1612). 

Bible. A hand-axe, a small holy-* 
stone (a kind of sand-stone used in 
cleaning decks), so called from seamen 
using them kneeling (Smyth). That's 
bible, that's the truth, that's A 1. 

Bible-carrier. A running stationer 
(q.v.) who sells songs without singing 
them: once often heard in the neigh- 
bourhood of Seven Dials. 

Bible-clerk (Winchester College). A 
College prefect in full power, appointed 
for one week. He keeps order in 
school, reads the lessons in chapel, 
takes round rolls (q.v.), and assists at 
floggings. He is absolved from going up 
to books (q.v. ) during his term of office. 
The prefect of hall need not act as 
Bible-clerk unless he likes, and the 
prefect of School may choose any 
week he pleases ; the rest take weeks 
in rotation, in the order of their 
Chambers in College : see Bibler and 

Bible-pounder (sharp, or thumper). 
A clergyman. 

Bibler (Winchester College). 
Now called Bibling (q.v.). BMer 
under nail, see Bibling under nail. 

Bibling (Winchester College). For- 
merly called a bibler. A flogging of 
six cuts on the small of the back, ad- 
ministered by the head or second 
master. So called because the person 
to be operated upon ordered (q.v.) hia 
name to the Bible-clerk (q.v.). 

Bibling-rod (Winchester College). 
The instrument with which a bibling 
(q.v.) was administered. It consisted 
of a handle with four apple twigs in 
the end, twisted together. It is re- 
presented on Aut Disce. It was 
invented and first used by Warden 
Baker in 1454. It is not used now. 

Bibling under Nail (Winchester 
College). A bibling (q.v.) administered 
for very heinous offences after an 
offender had stood under nail (q.v.). 

Biddy. 1. A chicken : sometimes 
chick-a-biddy. 2. A young woman, 



Big Wig. 

not necessarily Irish : in both these 
senses the word appears in Grose (1785) 
Since that time it would seem to have 
changed somewhat in meaning as 
follows. 3. A woman, whether young 
or old. 4. (Winchester College). See 
Bidet. 5. (American). A servant 
girl generally Irish. 

Bidet (or Biddy) (Winchester 
College). A bath. 

Bidstand. A highwayman (1637). 

Bien. See Bene. 

Biff. A blow. To give a biff in the 
jaw, to smack one's face, to wipe one 
in the chops. 

Biffin. M y biffin ! my pal ! A 
biffin is properly a dried apple, cf. 

Big. To talk (or look) big, to assume 
a pompous style or manner with a 
view to impressing others with a sense 
of one's importance ; to talk loudly, 
boastingly : Fr., se hancher (1579). 
Big as all outdoors, an expression in- 
tended to convey an idea of indefinite 
size, hugeness, enormous capacity. 

Big- bellied. Advanced in preg- 
nancy (1711). 

Big Ben. A nickname for the clock 
in the tower of the Houses of Parlia- 
ment at Westminster : named after Sir 
Benjamin Hall, the Commissioner of 
Works, under whose supervision it 
was constructed : it was commenced 
in 1856, and finished in 1857. 

Big Bird. To get (or give) the big 
bird, to be hissed on the stage ; or, 
conversely, to hiss. 

Big Bug. A person of standing (or 
consequence) : a common mode of 
allusion to persons of wealth or other 
claims to distinction : variants are 
Big-dog, Big-toad, Big- wig, and Great 
gun (1854). 

Big Country. The open country. 

Big Dog of the lanyard. A conse- 
quential, pompous individual; one 
who will neither allow others a voice in 
any matter, or permit dissent from his 
own views. 

Big Dog with the Brass Collar. 
The chief in any undertaking or 
enterprise, a leader. 

Big Drink. 1. The ocean: more par- 
ticularly applied to the Atlantic : also 
called the Big pond, Herring pond, the 
Puddle (q.v.). 2. When a Western 
plainsman talks of the Big drink he is 
always understood to mean the Mis- 
sissippi river. To take a big (or long) 

drink, to partake of liquor from a large 

Big-endian. Anybody or anything 
of importance. 

Big Figure. To go the big figure, a 
variant of to go the whole hog, or 
to go the whole animal. 

Biggest. A superlative often used in 
the sense of the best or the finest. 

Biggest Toad in the Puddle. One of 
the many bold, if equivocal, metaphors 
to which the West has given rise. 
The biggest toad in the puddle is the 
recognised leader or chief, whether 
in politics or in connection with the 
rougher avocations of pioneer life. 

B i g g i t y. Consequential, giving 
oneself airs : a negro term. 

Big Gun. A person of consequence. 

Big-head. To have a big-head. 1. To 
be conceited, bumptious : also applied 
to those who are cocksure of every- 
thing, or affected in manner. 2. The 
after effect of a debauch. To get the 
big-head, to get drunk : see Screwed. 

Big House. The workhouse : some- 
times called the Large House. 

Big Mouth. Excessive talkative- 
ness, loquacity. 

Big Nuts to crack. An undertaking 
of magnitude, one not easy to perform. 

Big One (or Big "Un). A man of 
note or importance. 

Big People. Persons of standing 
or consequence. 

Big Pond. The Atlantic : also The 
big drink (q.v.). 

Big Pot. A person of consequence. 

Big-side (Rugby School). The com- 
bination of all the bigger fellows in 
the school in one and the same game 
or run ; also the ground specially 
used for the game so denominated : 
also used at other public schools. 
Whence Big-side run, a paper chase, 
in which picked representatives of all 
houses take part, as opposed to a 
house run. 

Big Take. That which takes the 
public fancy, a great success, etc., 
in short, anything that catches on. 

Big Talk. Pompous speech, a 
pedantic use of long words. 

Big Wig. A person of consequence, 
one high in authority or rank : used 
both contemptuously and humor- 
ously (1703). Big-wigged, pompous, 
consequential. Big-wiggery, a display 
of consequence, or pomposity. Big- 
wiggism, pomposity. 

Big Words. 

Big Words. Pompous speech, 
crack jaw words. 

Bike. Short for bicycle : cf. Trike. 

Bilbo (or Bilboa). (1) A sword: 
Bilbao in Spain was once renowned for 
well tempered blades. Hence (2) a 
sword personified, especially that of a 
bully. Bilbo's the word, Beware, a blow 
will follow the word. Bilbo-lord, a 
bully. Also (3) a kind of stock a long 
iron bar with sliding shackles for the 
ankle, and a lock by which to fasten the 
bar at one end to the ground (1567). 

Bile. A vulgarism for boil. 

Bilgewater. Bad beer. 

Bilk. A word, formerly in general 
use, to which a certain stigma of vul- 
garity is now attached. Uncertain in 
derivation possibly a corrupted form 
of balk it was first employed tech- 
nically at cribbage to signify the 
spoiling of an adversary's score in the 
crib. Among obsolete or depraved 
usages may be mentioned. 1. A state- 
ment or string of words without sense, 
truth, or meaning (1663). 2. A hoax, 
imposition, humbug (1664). 3. A 
swindler, cheat : this is the most 
familiar current use of the word in ita 
substantive form, and is applied 
mainly to persons who cheat cabmen 
of their fares, and such like : also 
Bilker (1790). 4. A person who 
habitually sponges upon another, and 
who never by any chance makes a 
return or even offers to do so. As 
adj., fallacious, without truth or 
meaning (1740). As verb, to cheat, 
defraud, evade one's obligations, 
escape from, etc. (1677). To bilk the 
bluet, to evade the police. To bilk the 
schoolmaster, to obtain knowledge or 
experience without paying for it ( 1821 ). 

Bilker. A cheat, swindler : see Bilk. 

Bilking. Cheating, swindling. 

BUI (Eton College). 1. A list of boys 
who have to go to the headmaster at 
12 o'clock ; also of those who get off 
Absence (q.v.), or names-calling : e.g. 
an eleven playing in a match are thus 
exempt. 2. (Harrow School). Names- 
calling. To hang up a bill, to pass it 
through one or more of its stages, and 
then to lay it aside and defer ita 
further consideration for a more or 
lees indefinite period. To rush a bill, 
to expedite the passing of a bill 
through the Senate and Congress. 
To hold with bill in the water, to keep 
in suspense. Long (or short) bill, a 

long (or short) term of imprisonment. 
To pay a bill at sight, said of a man or 
woman who is always ready for action. 
To bill up, to be confined to barracks. 

Bill brighter (Winchester College). 
A small fagot used for lighting coal fires 
in Kitchen : so called from a servant 
Bill Bright, who was living in 1830. 

Billet. A situation, berth. To get a 
billet, amongst prisoners to obtain 
promotion to duties which carry with 
them certain privileges. 

Billiard Block. One who puts up 
with disagreeables for the sake of 
pecuniary or other advantages; also, 
occasionally, a jackal (q.v.), a tame 
cat (q.v.). 

Billiard-slum. False pretences. 

Billingsgate. Coarse language, scur- 
rilous abuse : from the evil reputation 
which the market of the same name 
has enjoyed for centuries. In the 
seventeenth century references to the 
violent and abusive speech of those 
frequenting the place were very 
numerous (1652). In French an 
analogous reference is made to the 
Place Maubert, also long noted for 
its noisy market To Billingsgate (or 
talk Billingsgate), to scold, talk coarsely 
(or violently), slang (q.v.)- So 
also, You're no better than a Billings- 
gate fishfag, i.e. rude and ill-mannered. 
Billingsgatry, scurrilous language. 

Billingsgate Pheasant. A red 
herring (or bloater), a two-eyed steak. 

Bill of Sale. Widow's weeds. 

Billy. 1. A pocket handkerchief 
(or neckerchief) : chiefly of silk : the 
various fancies have been thus 
described : Belcher, darkish blue 
ground, large round white spots, with 
a spot in the centre of darker blue than 
the ground : this was adopted by Jem 
Belcher, the pugilist, as his colours, 
and soon became popular amongst the 
fancy ; Bird's - eye wipe, a hand- 
kerchief of any colour, containing 
white spots : the blue bird's-eye is 
similar to the Belcher except in the 
centre : sometimes a bird's-eye wipe 
has a white ground and blue spots ; 
Blood-red fancy, red ; Blue Billy, blue 
ground, generally with white figures ; 
Cream fancy, any pattern on a white 
ground ; King's man, yellow pattern 
on a green ground ; Randal's man, 
green, with white spots : named after 
the favourite colours of Jack Randal, 
pugilist ; Water's man, sky coloured ; 

BUly Barlow. 


Yellow fancy, yellow with white spots ; 
Yellow man, all yellow. 2. Stolen 
metal. 3. A weapon : usually com- 
posed of a piece of untanned cowhide, 
as hard as horn itself, some six inches 
in length, twisted or braided into a 
sort of handle, and covered from end 
to end with woollen cloth : one ex- 
tremity is loaded with lead ; to the 
other is firmly attached a loop, large 
enough to admit a man's hand, formed 
of strong linen cord, and intended to 
allow the billy to hang loose from the 
wrist, and at the same time prevent 
it being lost or wrenched from the 
grasp of its owner. 4. A policeman's 
staff, truncheon. 6. A bushman'a 
tea-pot or saucepan. 6. A companion, 
comrade, mate (1505). 7. A fellow 
(1774). 8. A brother ; hence Billyhood, 
brotherhood (1724). 

Billy Barlow. A street clown, 
mountebank : from the hero of a slang 
song Billy was a real person, semi- 
idiotic, and though in dirt and rags, 
fancied himself a swell of the first 
water ; occasionally he came out with 
real witticisms ; he was a well-known 
street character about the East-end 
of London, and died in Whitechapel 
Workhouse (1851). 

Billy blinder. Ahoodwinker. 

Billy-boy. A vessel like a galliot, 
with two masts, the fore-mast square- 
rigged : they hail mainly from Goole : 
also called Humber-keels. 

Billy -button. 1. Mutton. 2. A 
journeyman tailor. 

Billy Buzman. A thief whose 
speciality ia silk pocket- and necker- 

Billy-cock. A round, low-crowned 
hat generally of soft felt, and with a 
broad brim. The Billy-cock of the 
Antipodean colonies differs from the 
English headgear known by the name 
in being made of hard instead of soft 
felt, and in having a turned-up brim. 

Billy-fencer. A marine store dealer. 

Billy-goat. A tufted beard ; similar 
to that of a goat. 

Billy-hunting. 1. Collecting and 
buying old metal. 2. Stealing pocket- 

Billy Noodle. A ladykiller, con- 
ceited ass. 

Billy-roller. A long stout stick. 

Bim, Bimshire. A Barbadian: the 
island of Barbadoes : this place is also 
jeeringly called Little England. 

Bing. See Bynge a waste. 

Binge. A drinking bout. 

Bingham's Dandies. The 17th 

Bingo. Brandy, or other spirituous 
liquor : thought to be a humorous 
formation from B. for brandy (cf. B. 
and S.) and stingo (Grose). Hence, 
Bingo boy, a tippler, drunkard ; Bingo 
mort, a drunken woman. 

Bingy. Bad, ropy butter ; nearly 
equivalent to vinnied (q.v.): in the 
English Dialect Society's Chester 
Glossary, bingy is given as a peculiar 
clouty or frowsty taste in milk the 
first stage of turning sour. 

Binnacle Word. A fine (or affected) 
word, which sailors jeeringly offer to 
chalk up upon the binnacle (Grose). 

Birch - broom. A room. Like a 
birch-broom in a fit, said of a rough 
towzly head. 

Birchin Lane. To send one to 
Birchin Lane, to castigate, flog : cf. 
Strap oil, etc. 

Birch-oil. A thrashing : cf. Strap- 
oil, Hazel- oil, etc. 

Bird. When a play is hissed the 
actors say The bird's there ! see Goose. 
As verb, to thieve, steal, look for 
plunder : used by Ben Jonson. A 
bird of one's own brain, one's own 
conception. The bird in the bosom, 
one's secret pledge, conscience. Birds 
of a feather, of like character. Also 
proverbs and proverbial sayings 
Some beat the bush and others take 
the bird ; A child's bird and a 
knave's wife lead a sore life ; The 
bird that fouleth its own nest is not 
honest, A bird in hand is worth three 
in the wood (or bush) ; An old 
bird is not caught with chaff ; To 
kill two birds with one stone ; The 
early bird catches the worm. 

Bird-cage. 1. A bustle, an article 
of feminine attire, used for extending 
the skirts of the dress : at one time con- 
structed of such a size and in such a 
manner as to be not altogether unlike 
an elongated bird-cage : among Eng- 
lish synonyms may be mentioned 
canary cage, backstaircase, false here- 
after, bishop. 2. A four-wheeled cab. 
3. The paddock at the Newmarket 
race-course where saddling takes place. 

Birdlime. 1. Time. 2. A thief 

Bird's - eye (Bird's - eye Fogle, 
Bird's-eye Wipe). A silk handker- 


chief spotted with eye-like markings : 
see Billy (1665). 

Birdsnye. An endearment : cf. 

Bird-witted. Inconsiderate, 
thoughtless, easily imposed on (Grose) 

Birk. A crib (q.v.), i.e. a house. 

Birthday Suit Nudity, buff 
(q.v.) : FT., en sauvage (1771). 

Bishop. 1. A warm drink : wine, 
orange (or lemon), peel, and sugar 
but variously compounded (1703). 2. 
A bustle (q.v.) : a pad worn on the 
back part of the waist, and designed 
to give prominence to the skirt : see 
Bird-cage (1848). 3. A chamber- 
pot, jerry, Jordan, it (q.v.). 4. (Win- 
chester College). The sapling with 
which a fagot is bound together. As 
verb, (1) to burn marks into a horse's 
teeth, after he has lost them by age ; 
or, by other deceptive arts to give a 
good appearance to a bad horse : by 
bishopping, a horse is made to appear 
younger than he is : the expression is 
derived from the name of a person who 
initiated the practice ; (2) to murder 
by drowning : now obsolete : like 
Burke and Boycott from the name of 
an individual ; a man named Bishop 
drowned a boy in Bethnal Green,. in 
1831, to sell the body for dissecting 

Bismarquer. To cheat, play foul at 
cards (or billiards) : the policy of Prince 
Bismarck, the German Chancellor, in 
1865-66 roused the indignation of 

Bit, Bite, Byte, 1. Money: 
see Rhino (1532). 2. A coin varying 
in value according to locality usually, 
however, to the silver piece of the 
lowest denomination. Four penny 
pieces are still called bits in English, 
though more popularly known as 
Joeys (q.v.) (1748). 3. In disparage- 
ment otto of girls, bits of children, 
bit of a place, bit of one's mind, candid 
(and uncomplimentary) criticism, 
opinion, etc. Bitwise, little by little. 

Bitch, subs. (low). 1. A woman : 
not now in literary use, though for- 
merly so (1400). 2. A man : it has long 
since passed out of decent usage (1500). 
As verb, (1) to yield (or give up an 
attempt) through fear (Grose). (2) to 
spoil, bungle. To stand bitch, to make 
tea, or do- the honours of the tea table, 
or to perform a woman's duty. 

Bitch Booby. A country girl 

Bitch-daughter. The night- 

Bitch-fou. Very drank, beastly 
drunk : see Screwed. 

Bitch Party. A party composed of 
women : originally an Oxford term for 
a tea-party : cf. Hen-party (q.v.), and 

Bite. 1. Money : generic : see Bit 
and Rhino. 2. An imposition, piece 
of humbug, sell, do : cf. Bilk, Bam, 
Bargain, and Sell : the sense runs 
through all stages, from jocular hoax- 
ing to downright swindling ; also in 
the sense of disappointment, as in the 
old proverb, the biter bit (1711). 3. 
A sharper, cheat, trickster (1742). 4. 
Applied in a transferred sense to any- 
body or anything suspected of being 
different to what it appears, but not 
necessarily in a bad sense. 5. One 
who drives a hard bargain, a close 
fist 6. A Torkshireman. 7. An 
irregular white spot on the edge or 
corner of a printed page, caused by 
the frisket not being sufficiently cut 
out (1677). As verb, (1) to deceive, 
cheat, swindle, do, or take in : for- 
merly used both transitively and pas- 
sively ; now only in latter (1699) ; (2) 
to strike a hard bargain ; (3) to steal ; 
e.g. to bite the roger, to steal a port- 
manteau, to bite the wiper, to pur- 
loin a handkerchief. As intj., (1) 
formerly an equivalent to the modern 
Sold! Done! etc. (1704); (2) 
(Charterhouse). A warning Cave ! 
To do a thing when the maggot bites, to do 
it when the fancy takes one, at one's 
own sweet will. To bite one's hips, to 
regret a word or action. To bite one's 
name in, to drink heavily, tipple, drink 
greedily. To bite on the bridle, to be 
pinched in circumstances, reduced, 
in difficulties. Phrases : To bite upon 
the bridle, to wait impatiently, like a 
restless horse ; To bite the dust (ground, 
sand), etc., to die ; to bite the tongue, 
to repress speech ; to bite the thumb at, 
(1) 'To threaten or defie by putting 
the thumbe naile into the mouth, and 
with a ierke (from the upper teeth) 
make it to knack ' (Cotgrave) ; (2) to 
insult ; to bite one's ear, to caress fondly ; 
to bite the ear, to borrow. 

Biter. 1. A practical joker, hoaxer, 
one who deceives, a cheat and trickster : 
the term now only survives in the 




proverbial expression, the biter bit 
(1669). 2. A wanton. 

Bite-up. An unpleasant altercation. 

Bit-faker (or Turner-out). A coiner 
of bad money. 

Bit- faking. Manufacturing base 
coin, counterfeiting. 

Bi ting-up. Grieving over a loss (or 

Bit- maker. A counterfeiter. 

Bit-o'-bull. Beef : Fr., gobet ; for- 
merly, a dainty morsel. 

Bit of blood. A spirited horse 
thoroughbred (1819). 

Bit of cavalry. A horse (1821). 

Bit of ebony. A negro (or negress), 
snowball (q.v.). 

Bit o f fat. 1. An unexpected 
advantage in a transaction. 2. See 

Bit of jam. See Jam. 

Bit of leaf. Tobacco. 

Bit of muslin. A young girl, 
a woman : see Petticoat. 

Bit of mutton. A woman, 
cf. Laced mutton. 

Bit of sticks. A corpse. 

Bitofstiff. A bank-note (or 
other paper money), the equivalent of 
money when not in specie, i.e. a 
draft or bill of exchange (1854). 
Hence, to do a bit of stiff, to accept a 

Bit of stuff. An overdressed 
man, man with full confidence in his 
appearance and abilities ; also a young 

Bitter. A glass of beer. To do a 
bitter, to drink a glass of bitter : 
originally (says Hotten) an Oxford 
term : varied by, to do a beer. 

Bittock. A distance of very un- 
decided length : if a North country- 
man be asked the distance to a place, 
he will most probably reply, a mile 
and a bittock : the latter may be con- 
sidered any distance from one hundred 
yards to ten miles : also of time. 

Biz. Business, employment, occu- 
pation : Good biz, profitable busi- 

B. K. S. Barracks : used by officers 
in mufti, who do not wish to give their 

Blab, subs, (vulgar). 1. A babbler : 
a depraved word, once in common use, 
but rarely employed now, except 
colloquially. 2. Loose talk, chatter. 
Also as verb and in various com- 
pounds and allied forms, such as blab- 

ber, blabbing, blabbing - book, etc. 
a taint of vulgarism now rests upon 
them all. 

Black. 1. A poacher working with 
a blackened face (1722). 2. A mute 
(1619). Phrases: To look black, to 
frown, look angrily ; to say black is 
any one's eye (eyebrow, nail, etc.), to 
find fault, lay to charge ; black-babbling, 
malicious talk. 

Black Act. Black art (q.v.). 

Blackamoor. \. A negro, any dark- 
skinned person ; originally not in 
depreciation, but now a nickname 
(1547). 2. A devil, demon, evil spirit 

Blackamoor's Teeth. Cowrie shells 
the currency of some savage tribes 

Black-and-tan. Porter (or stout) 
and ale, mixed in equal quantities. 

Black-and-tan country. The 
Southern States of North America. 

Black and White. The black 
characters of print or writing on white 
paper. Hence, to put a thing down in 
black and white, to preserve it in writ- 
ing or in print : black on white is a 
variant (1596). 

Black -apronry. The clerical and 
legal professions (1832). 

Black - art. 1. Picking of locks, 
burglary (1591). 2. The business of 
an undertaker. 

Black-ball. See Pill. 

Blackballing. Stealing, pilfering : 
a sailor's word : it originated amongst 
the employees of the old Black Ball 
line of steamers between New York 
and Liverpool the cruelty and scan- 
dalous conduct of officers to men, and 
sailors to each other, were so proverb- 
ial, that the line of vessels in question 
became known all over the world for 
the cruelty of its officers, and the 
thieving propensities of its sailors. 

Blackbeetles. The lower strata of 
society (1821). 

Blackberry swagger. A hawker 
of tapes, boot-laces, etc. 

Blackbird. Formerly a captive 
on board a slaver ; now generally 
understood as referring to a Poly- 
nesian indentured labourer, who, if 
not by name a slave, is often one to all 
intents and purposes. As verb, to cap- 
ture negroes or Polynesians, to kidnap. 

B 1 a c k - bir der s. Kidnappers for 
labour purposes on the islands of the 




Black- book. To be in the black books, 
to be in disgrace, have incurred dis- 
pleasure, to be out of favour. 

Black box. A lawyer (Grow}. 

Black- boy. See Blackcoat 

Black Bracelets. Handcuffs : see 
Darbies (1839). 

Black-cattle. 1. Clergymen, par- 
sons. 2. lace, active citizens (q.v.), 
chates (q.v.). 

Black-cattle Show. A gathering of 

Black-coat A parson (1627). 

Black-country. Parts of Stafford- 
shire and Warwickshire blackened by 
the coal and iron industries (1834). 

Black-cuffs. The Fifty-eighth Foot: 
now the second battalion of the North- 
amptonshire Regiment ; from the 
regimental facings, which have been 
black since 1767 : also nicknamed the 
steel backs (q.v.). 

Black Diamonds. 1. Coals (1849). 
2. A rough (but clever or good) person : 
this has given place to rough diamond 

Black Dog. 1. Applied, circa 1702- 
30, to a counterfeit shilling and other 
base silver coinage. 2. Delirium 
tremens, the horrors, jim jams : 
black dog is frequently used for de- 
pression of spirits, and melancholy: 
when a child is sulky, it is said, the 
black dog is on his back : among 
the ancients a black dog and its pups 
were considered an evU omen. To 
Hush like a black dog, not to blush 
at all, to be shameless (1634). 

Black Doll. See Dolly shop. 

Black-eye. To give a bottle a 
black eye, to empty it 

Black -eyed Susan. Texan for a 
revolver : among other slang equiva- 
lents for this weapon current in the 
Lone Star State may be mentioned, 
Meat in the pot, Blue lightning, The 
peace-maker, Mr. Speaker, One-eyed 
scribe, Pill box, and My unconverted 

Black-fellow. An Australian 
aboriginal (1831). 

Black- fly. A clergyman: see 
Devil-dodger (1811). 

Black- foot A go-between, 
match-maker (1814). 

Blackfriars. Look out ! Beware ! 

Black Friday. 1. The day on which 
Overend, Gurney, & Co. suspended 
pay mentr 10th May 1886: cf. Blue 
Monday (1750). 2. The Monday on 

which the death penalty is carried 
out ; these events are (or were) gener- 
ally arranged to fall on the day in 

Black-gown. A collegian, learned 
man (17 10). 

Blackguard, subs, (common). A 
man coarse in speech, and offensive in 
manner, scamp, scoundrel, disreput- 
able fellow : the term, as now used, is 
one of opprobrium, and although a 
good deal of uncertainty hangs about 
its history and derivation, it seems 
pretty clear that a certain amount of 
odium has always been attached to 
the word (1532). As adj., of or per- 
taining to a blackguard, to the scum 
or refuse of society, vile, vicious ( 1 760). 
As verb, to act like a rufnan,use filthy 
(or scurrilous) language, play the 
vagabond (or scoundrel). 

Black Hole. 1. Cheltenham, from 
the number of retired Anglo-Indians 
who live there : cf. Asia Minor. 2. A 
barrack punishment-cell (or lock-up), 
guard-room : the official designation 
till 1868. 

Black Horse. The Seventh Dra- 
goon Guards : so called from the regi- 
mental facings, black on scarlet : 
occasionally The Blacks. During the 
reign of George II., the corps was 
known as The Virgin Mary's Guard, 
and is often called Strawboots (q.v.). 

Black House. A place of business 
where hours are long, and wages at 
starvation rates ; a sweating house. 

Black-humour. Melancholy. 

Black Indies. Newcastle-on-Tyne : 
from its trade, coal : the term is now 
obsolete, but it was in common use 
at the latter part of the eighteenth 

Black Jack. 1. A leathern jug for 
beer, usually holding two gallons 
(1591). 2. A black leather jerkin 

Black job. A funeral. 

Blackleg. 1. A turf swindler, 
rook, welcher ; also one who cheats at 
cards or billiards : origin unknown : 
although many speculations have been 
hazarded, none are satisfactory (1771). 

2. A workman who, when his fellows 
are on strike, is willing to go on working. 

3. Also any one failing or refusing to 
join his fellows in combination for a 
given purpose. As verb, to boycott, 
to make things so uncomfortable for a 
man that he is compelled to leave hi* 




work or the town. To blackleg it, 
amongst trades' union men to return 
to work before the causes of a strike 
have been removed (or settled) to the 
satisfaction of the leaders. 

Black-leggism, Black-legger7. 
Cheating, swindling, the arts and 
practices of a blackleg (q.v.) (1832). 

Black-letter Day. An inauspicious 
day : cf. Red-letter day. 

Black Literature. That printed in 
black letter (1797). 

Blackmail (or rent). An illegal 
tribute (1533). 

Black - man (Black Gentleman). 
The devil (1606). 

Blackmans. See Darkmans. 

Black Maria. A prison van or 
omnibus : used for the conveyance of 
prisoners : the origin of the phrase is 
unknown. A variant is Sable Maria. 

Black Monday. A schoolboys' 
term for the Monday on which, after 
holidays, school re-opens. 

Black Mouth. A foul-mouthed 
person, a slanderer. Hence black- 
mouthed, calumnious. 

Black - mummer. One unwashed 
and unshorn. 

Black-neb. A person of democratic 
sympathies at the time of the French 

Black -nob. A non-unionist, one 
who (while his fellows are on strike) 
persists in working at his trade, a 
blackleg (q.v.). 

Black Ointment. Uncooked meat. 

Black- pot. A toper, tippler, Lush- 
ington (q.v.) (1594). 

Black Psalm. To sing the black 
psalm, to cry ; a saying used to children 

Blacks. See Black horse. 

Black Sal (or Suke). A kettle. 

Black Sanctus. A burlesque hymn 
or anthem, rough music. 

Black Saturday. A Saturday on 
which an artisan or mechanic has no 
money to take, having anticipated it 
by advances. 

Black Sheep. A scapegrace, bad 
lot ; mauvais sujet : also applied like 
blackleg and black-nob to workmen 
who persist in working when their 
comrades are on strike. As verb (Win- 
chester College) : when a fellow in 
Junior Part got above (or jockeyed) 
a fellow in Middle Part. 

Blacksmith's Daughter. A key: 
formerly the key with which the doors 

of sponging houses were unlocked : 
also Locksmith's daughter. 

Black-snake. A long whip-lash. 

Black- spice Racket. Robbing 
chimney sweepers of their tools, bag, 
and soot (Lexicon Ealatronicum). 

Black Spy. The devil : Fr., dache. 

Black-strap. 1. Thick, sweet port. 
2. Properly speaking, gin mixed with 
molasses, but frequently applied to 
a compound of any alcoholic liquor 
with molasses : beverages of this 
description were at one time the 
commonest of drinks among agricul- 
tural labourers. 3. A task of labour 
imposed on soldiers at Gibraltar as a 
punishment for small offences (Grose). 

Black-teapot. A negro footman. 

Black Watch (The). The 42nd 
Foot ; now the Royal Highlanders : 
from the colour of the dress. 

Blackwork. Undertaking : waiters 
at public dinners are often employed 
during the day as mutes. 

Blacky. A negro : cf. Darky. 

Bladder. A pretentious person, 
windbag (q.v.). 

Bladderdash. Nonsense, bunkum 
(q.v.), spoof (q.v.): a portmanteau 
word bladder balderdash. 

Bladder of Lard. A bald-headed 

Bladderskate. See Bletherskate. 

Blade. A roysterer, gallant, 
sharp, keen, free-and-easy man, good 
fellow (1595). 

Blamed. Used to emphasize a 
statement : it partakes of the nature 
of an oath, being often used instead 
of doomed or damned : in America 
the expression is more of a collo- 
quialism than it is in England (1835). 
Hence, Blame it I a round - about 

Blamenation ! Damnation ! 

Blandiloquence. Smooth, flattering 
speech, carneying (q.v.). Hence 
Blandiloquous, smooth-speaking, flat- 
tering (1615). 

Blank (Blanked, Blankety). 
Euphemistic oaths : clearly an out- 
come of the practice of representing 
an oath, for decency's sake, in printing, 
by a dash or blank space ; e.g. d a. 

Blank - charter. Liberty to do 
as one likes. 

Blank cheque. Unlimited credit. 

Blanket. Lawful blanket ; a wife : 
see Dutch. Wet-blanket, any thing or 
person that discourages, a damper 


Blanket Fair. 


(q.v.) (1830). Born on the wrong side 
of the blanket, illegitimate (1771). 

Blanket Fair. Bed: cf. Bedford- 
shire, Sheet Alley, and Land of Nod. 

Blanket-love. Illicit amours (1649). 

Blarmed. A euphemism for 
blessed (q.v.) ; damned ; bio wed 
(q.v.) ; or blamed (q.v.), of the last of 
which it is probably a corruption. 

Blarm me 1 A euphemistic oath. 

Blarney. Blandishment, soft 
speech, or sawder, gross flattery, 
gammon. [From Castle Blarney in 
Ireland, in the wall of which, difficult of 
access, is placed a stone. Whoever is 
able to kiss this is said thereafter to be 
able to persuade to anything (Grose).] 
As verb, (1) to wheedle, coax, flatter 
grossly ; (2) to pick locks (American 

Blasted. Execrable, confounded : 
Grose has bloated fellow for an aban- 
doned rogue (1682). 

Blatantation. Noisy effusion, 

Blater. A calf : probably a cor- 
ruption of bleater (1714). 

Blather. Noisy talk, voluble non- 
sense : cf. Blether. As verb, to talk 
volubly, noisily, nonsensically. 

Blatherskite. 1. Boastful dis- 
putatious swagger : cf. Bletherskite. 
2. A swaggerer, boaster, one who talks 
volubly and nonsensically. 

Blayney's Bloodhounds. The 
Eighty-ninth Foot, now the second 
battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers : 
they obtained this nickname during the 
Irish Rebellion in 1798. 

Blaze. Blaze-away ! Look sharp ; 
stir your stumps an injunction to 
renewed and more effective effort. 

Blazer. Originally applied to the 
uniform of the Lady Margaret Boat 
Club of St. John's College, Cambridge, 
which was of a bright red and was 
called a blazer : now applied to any 
light jacket of bright colour worn at 
cricket or other sports. Prof. Skeat 
[N. and Q., 7 S., iii. 436] speaking of 
the Johnian blazer, says it was always 
of the most brilliant scarlet, and thinks 
it not improbable that the fact sug- 
gested the name which subsequently 
became general. 

Blazes. 1. The infernal regions. 
As a verb, to blaze is employed in a 
manner closely bordering on slang : 
thus one says of an action that it is a 
blazing shame ; that he has a blazing 

headache ; that so-and-so is a blazing 
thief ; that such a job is blazing hard 
work ; that it is a blazing hot day. 2. 
The brilliant habiliments of flunkeys : 
from the episode of Sam Weller and 
the swarry. Old blazes, the deviL 
Go to blazes ! Go to the devil ; go to 
hell used in imprecations (1851). 
Like blazes, vehemently, with extreme 
ardour. How (Who, or What) the 
blazes. How (What or Who) the 
Dickens. Drunk as blazes (or blaizers), 
very drunk, beastly drunk : see 

Bleach (Harvard University). 
To absent oneself from morning 

Bleached Mort A fair complex- 
ioned wench (Grose). 

Bleak. Handsome. 

Bleater. The victim of a sharper 
or rook (1609). 

Bleating cheat A sheep (1567). 

Bleating Cull. A sheep stealer. 

Bleating Prig (or Rig). Sheep steal- 
Bleed. 1. To be victimised, lose 
or part with money so that the loss is 
felt, be rushed (q.v.), have money 
drawn or extorted from one (1668). 
2. To plane down so that the edge 
of a printed book is cut away. 3. To 
let water out (nautical). To bleed the 
monkey, to steal rum from the mess 
tub called the monkey : the term 
is exclusively naval, monkeys not 
being known on merchant ships : also 
called sucking the monkey and tapping 
the admiral. 

Bleeder (University). 1. A 
duffer beyond compare, a superlative 
fool : see Buffle. 2. A sovereign : see 
Rhino. 3. A spur. 

Bleeding. An expletive : cf. (Shake- 
speare), bleeding new. 

Bleeding Cully. One who parts 
easily with his money, or bleeds freely 

Blanker. To plunder : much used 
during the Civil War. 

Bless. To curse, damn. To bless 
oneself, to be surprised, vexed, mor- 
tified : generally, God bless me ! 
Bless my eyes ! Bless my soul ! 
Lor' bless me ! (1592). Not a 
penny to bless oneself with, utterly im- 
pecunious, without a sou (1843). 
To bless one's stars, to thank oneself, 
attribute one's good fortune to luck, 
generally in a ludicrous sense (1845). 




Blessed (Blest). An ironical 
euphemism ; often used like blazing 
for cursed, damned, etc., or as a vow 

Blessing. A curse : ironical. 

Blether Blather. Nonsense, 
vapid talk, voluble chatter (1787). 
Hence Blethering, volubly, foolishly 
talkative : cf. Bletherskate. 

Bletherskate, Blatherskite. 1. 
Boastful swagger: in talk or action. 
2. A boaster, noisy talker : in Ireland, 
Bladder skate, and Bladderum-skate 

Blew. 1. To inform, peach, expose, 
betray : see Blow upon. 2. To spend, 
waste : generally of money ; when a 
man has spent or lost all his money, he 
is said to have blewed it. 

Blimey 1 Blind me ! 

Blind. 1. A means or place of con- 
cealment (1647). 2. A pretence, shift, 
action through which one's real pur- 
pose is concealed, that which obstructs, 
make - believe (1663). 3. A para- 
graph [in mark is so called ; from the 
eye of the reversed P being filled up. 
As adj., tipsy, in liquor : see Screwed. 
Blind as a brickbat, very blind men- 
tally or physically (1849). When the 
devti is blind, never : Fr., le trente six 
du mols, and quand les ponies auront 
des dents. To go it blind, to enter upon 
an undertaking without thought as 
to the result, or inquiry beforehand : 
from poker. 

Blind-drunk (or fou). So drunk as 
to be unable to see better than a blind 
man : see Screv/ed : Americans say, 
So drunk as not to be able to see 
through a ladder. 

Blinder. To take a blinder, to die : 
see Hop the Twig. 

Blind Half Hundred. The Fiftieth 
Regiment of Foot, now the first bat- 
talion Queen's Own (Royal West Kent 
Regiment) : many men suffered from 
ophthalmia during the Egyptian cam- 
paign [1801]. 

Blind Harper. A beggar coun- 
terfeiting blindness, playing on a 
fiddle (Grose). 

Blind-man's Holiday. Formerly, 
the night or darkness ; now usually 
applied to the time between lights, 
when it is too dark to see, but often 
not dark enough to light up, and a 
holiday or rest from work is taken 

Blind Monkeys. An imaginary 

collection at the Zoological Gardens, 
which are supposed to receive care and 
attention from persons fitted by 
nature for such office and for little 
else. An idle and useless person is 
often told that he is only fit to lead 
blind monkeys. Another form is for 
one man to tell another that he knows 
of a suitable situation for him. How 
much a week ? and what to do ? are 
natural questions, and then comes 
the scathing and sarcastic reply, Five 
bob a week at the doctor's you're 
to stand behind the door and make 
the patients sick. They won't want 
no physic when they sees your mug 

Blindo. A drunken spree. As verb, 
to die : see Hop the Twig. 

Blind Side. The side that is 
weakest, the most assailable side 

Blind Story. A story without 

Blink. To drink : see Lush. 

Blinker. 1. The eye : cf. Winker, 
Peeper, Optic, etc. (1816). 2. In pi. 
Spectacles, barnacles (1732). 3. In 
Norfolk, a black eye. 4. A hard blow 
in the eye. Blank your blinkers, a 
euphemistic oath. 

Blink - fencer. A vendor of spec- 

Blinko. An amateur entertain- 
ment, a free-and-easy (q.v.); a sing- 
song (q.v.). 

Blister. Euphemistic for damn: 
cf. Blamed (1840). 

Blizzard. 1. A poser, stunning blow, 
unanswerable argument, etc., etc. 
(1831). 2. A snow-gale, furious storm 
of frost-wind and blinding snow. 

Bloak. See Bloke. 

Bloat. 1. A drowned body. 2. 
A drunkard. 3. A contemptuous 
name for a human being. 

Bloated Aristocrat. A man swollen 
with the pride of rank or wealth ; also 
a general sobriquet applied by the 
masses to the classes. Bloated 
has long been employed in a similar 
sense. Swift spoke of a certain states- 
man as a bloated minister (1731). 

Bloater. See My bloater. 

Blob. To talk, patter. Blob- 
tale, a tell-tale, tale-bearer (1670). 

Block. A stupid person, hard 
unsympathetic individual, one of 
mean, unattractive appearance (1534) : 
see Buffie. Barber's block (1), the 




head (1637); (2) s fop. A chip of the 
tame (or old) block, a man or thing 
exhibiting the same qualities as he or 
that with which a comparison is made 
(1627). At deaf <u a block, as deaf as 
may be. To cut a block with a razor, in- 
consequent argument, futile endeavour, 
incongruous application of means (or 
ability) to the end in view (1774). To 
block a hat, to crush a man's hat over 
the eyes, to bonnet (q.v.). 

Blockers. See Block ornaments. 

Blockhead (or Block- pate). A 
etupid fellow, woodenhead ; see 

Block House. A prison, house 
of detention : see Cage (1624). 

Block Island Turkey, subs. (Ameri- 
can). Salted cod-fish. Connecticut 
and Rhode Island. Slang delights in 
naming fish as flesh. For some curious 
examples, see Two-eyed Steak. 

Block Ornament (or Blocker). 
1. A small piece of meat of indifferent 
quality, a trimming from a joint, 
etc. : as exposed for sale on the blocks 
or counters of butchers' shops in cheap 
neighbourhoods, opposed to meat 
hung on hooks (1848). 2. A queer- 
looking man or woman one odd in 

Block- pate. See Blockhead. 

Bloke (or Bloak). A man, fellow 

Blood. 1. A fop, dandy, buck, or 
fast man : originally in common use, 
but now obsolete : from that legitimate 
sense of the word which attributes the 
seat of the passions and emotions to 
the blood hence, a man of spirit ; one 
who has blood worth mention, and, in 
an inferior sense, he who makes him- 
self notorious, whether by dress or 
rowdyism : in the last century, especi- 
ally during the regency of George IV., 
the term was largely in vogue to denote 
a young man of good birth or social 
standing about town ; subsequently, 
it came to mean a riotous, disorderly 
fellow (1562). 2. Money: generic: 
see Rhino. As verb, to deplete of 
money, victimise : a figurative usage 
of to bleed ; i.e. surgically, to let or 
draw blood by opening a vein. 

Blood ana Entrails. The 
British ensign is so nicknamed by 
Yankee sailors ; English salts return 
the compliment by jokingly speaking 
of the American flag as The Gridiron 
and Doughboys (q.v.). 

Blood and Thunder. A beverage 
of port wine and brandy mixed. 

Blood and Thunder Tales. 
Low class fiction, the term being 
generally applied to works dealing 
with the exploits of desperadoes cut- 
throats, and other criminals : also called 
Awfuls, Penny dreadfuls, Gutter 
literature, Shilling shockers. 

Blood-an'-'ouns. An abbreviated 
form of an old and blasphemous oath. 

Blood-curdler (or Blood-freezer). 
A narration or incident which makes 
the flesh creep, that which stirs one's 
feelings strongly (and generally re- 
pulsively) : said of a sensational 
murder, a thrilling ghost-story, etc. 

Blood for Blood. When 
tradesmen exchange wares, setting 
the cost of one kind off against another 
instead of making payment in cur- 
rency, they are said to give blood for 

Blood-Freezer. See Blood-curdler. 

Blood-red Fancy. A particu- 
lar kind of handkerchief sometimes 
worn by pugilists and frequenters of 
prize fights : see Billy. 

Blood Suckers. The Sixty-third 
Regiment of Foot, now the first 
battalion of the Manchester Regi- 
ment. 2. An extortioner, sponger 

Blood-tub. A rowdy, blustering 
bully, rough : this nickname was 
peculiar to Baltimore ; the Blood-tubs 
were said to have been mostly butchers, 
and to have got their epithet from 
having, on an election day, dipped an 
obnoxious German's head in a tub of 
warm blood, and then driven him 
running through the town. 

Bloody, adj. (low). An intensive 
difficult to define, and used in a mul- 
titude of vague and varying senses, but 
frequently with no special meaning, 
much less a sanguinary one : generally 
= an emphatic, very : in general collo- 
quial use from 1650-1750, but now 
vulgar or profane. The origin is not 
quite certain ; but there is good reason 
to think that it was at first a refer- 
ence to the habits of the bloods or 
aristocratic rowdies of the end of the 
17th and beginning of the 18th cent. 
The phrase bloody drunk was ap- 
parently as drunk as a blood (cf. 
as drunk as a lord) ; thence it was 
extended to kindred expressions, and 
at length to others ; probably in later 


Bloody Back. 


times, its associations with bloodshed 
and murder (cf. a bloody battle, a 
bloody butcher) have recommended 
it to the rough classes as a word that 
appeals to their imagination. Compare 
the prevalent craving for impress- 
ive or graphic intensives as seen in the 
use of jotty, awfully, terribly, devil- 
ish, deuced, damned, ripping, rattling, 
thumping, stunning, thundering, etc. 

Bloody Back. A soldier. 

Bloody Chasm. To bridge 
the bloody chasm, a favourite expres- 
sion with orators who, during the 
years immediately succeeding the 
Civil War, sought to obliterate the 
memory of the struggle. The anti- 
thetical phrase is to wave the bloody 
shirt (q.v.). 

Bloody Eleventh. The Eleventh 
Regiment of Foot, now the Devon- 
shire Regiment : at the battle of Sala- 
manca (fought with the French) the 
corps was nearly cut to pieces, whence 
its sanguinary sobriquet. At Fon- 
tenoy and Ostend also, it was hard- 
pressed and nearly annihilated. 

Bloody Jemmy. An uncooked 
sheep's head. 

Bloody Shirt. To wave the 
bloody shirt, to keep alive factious 
strife on party questions. Primarily 
it was the symbol of those who, 
during the Reconstruction period at 
the close of the rebellion of the South- 
ern or Confederate States, would not 
suffer the Civil War to sink into oblivion 
out of consideration for the feelings of 
the vanquished. 

Bloomer. A mistake : said to be 
an abbreviated form of blooming 

Blooming (often Bloomin'). This 
word, similar in type to blessed, 
blamed, and other words of the kind, 
is, as used by the lower classes, a 
euphemism, but it is also frequently 
employed as a mere meaningless in- 
tensitive (1726). 

Bloss. Generic for a woman 
girl, wife, or mistress : Shakespeare, 
in Titus Andronicus (1588, iv. ii. 72), 
employs it in the sense of one lovely 
and full of promise Sweet blowse 
you are a beautious blossome sure ; 
Tennyson (1847) in the Princess (v. 
79), uses the expression, My babe, 
my blossom, ah, my child ! 

Blossom-faced. With red bloated 

Blossom-nose. A tippler, Lushing- 
ton (q.v.). Blossom-nosed, red with 
tippling : cf. Grog-blossom, Rum-bud. 

Blot. To blot the scrip, to put an 
undertaking into writing : the modern 
phrase is, to put it in black and 
white. Hence, To blot the scrip and 
jark it, to stand engaged, bound for 
any one (Grose). 

Bloviate. To talk aimlessly 
and boastingly, indulge in high 
falutin' : said to have been in use 
since 1850. 

Blow. 1. A shilling : see Rhino. 
2. A drunken froh'c, spree. As verb, 
(1) to boast, brag, gas, fume, storm 
generally to talk boastfully or self- 
assertingly of oneself or one's affairs 
(1400) ; (2) to inform, expose, betray, 
peach (1575) ; (3) to lie ; (4) employed 
euphemistically for damn gener- 
ally in the imperative Blow it I 
hang it t (5) to lose or spend money : 
cf. Blue ; (6) to indulge in a frolic or 
spree ; (7) (Winchester School), to 
blush. To bite the blow, to steal 
goods, prig. To blow a cloud, to 
smoke. To blow hot and cold, to 
vacillate, be inconsistent ; to blow the 
bellows, to stir up passion ; to blow off, 
to relieve one' s feelings, get rid of super- 
fluous energy ; to blow into one's ear, 
to whisper privily ; to blow one's own 
trumpet, to brag, sound one's own 

E raises ; to blow the coals (or the fire), to 
in the flame of discord, promote 
strife ; to blow up, to scold, rate, rail 
at ; To blow great guns, to blow a 
hurricane or violent gale : sometimes 
to blow great guns and small arms 
(1839). To blow one's bazoo, to boast, 
swagger, gasconade. To blow oneself 
out, to eat heartily, gorge : hence, 
blow out, a heavy feed (or enter- 
tainment), a tuck in. To blow the 
gab (or gaff), to reveal (or let out) a 
secret, peach (Grose). To blow the 
grampus, to throw cold water on a 
man who has fallen asleep when on 
duty. To blow together, to make gar- 
ments in a slovenly manner. To blow 
up sky-high, to do everything with un- 
usual energy. To blow upon, to betray, 
tell tales of, discredit, defame. 

Blowboul (orBloboll). A 
tippler : see Lusbington. 

Blow-book. A book containing 
indelicate or ' smutty ' pictures (1708). 

Blowed. To be blowed, Slowed is 
here a euphemism, frequently little 



more than a thinly-veiled oath. To 
be cursed, sent about one's business. 

Blowen (or Blowing). Origin- 
ally a woman, without special refer- 
ence to moral character, now a showy 
courtesan or a prostitute (1688). 

Blower. 1. A girl : contemptuous 
in opposition to jomer (q.v.) (Grose). 

2. A good talker, boaster, gas-bag. 

3. A pipe. 

Blowhard. A Western term of 
abuse : a newcomer may, in one and 
the same breath, be called a blareted 
Britisher, a coyote, and a blowhard. 

Blowse (Blowsy, Blouze, Blowzy). 
1. A beggar's trull, a wench. 2. 
A slatternly woman, especially one 
with dishevelled hair. Thought to be 
of canting origin. 

Blowze. 1. A beggar's trull, beg- 
gar wench, wench (1573). 2. A fat, 
rod - faced bloated wench, or one 
whose head is dressed like a slattern 

Blubber. 1. The mouth: see 
Potato-trap (Grose). 2. A woman's 
breasts. As verb, to cry, weep : in 
contempt (1400) : also Blab. 

Blubber and Guts. Obesity; a 
low term. 

Blubber-belly. A fat person. 

Blubber Head. A foolish, empty- 
headed individual : see Buffle. 

Blucher (ch. hard) (Winchester 
College). 1. A College praefect in half 
power : their jurisdiction does not 
extend beyond Seventh Chamber 
passage, though their privileges are 
the same as those of other prefects . 
they are eight in number. 2. A non- 
privileged cab plying at railway 
stations : railway companies recog- 
nise two classes of cabs, called the Pri- 
vileged .... and the Bluchers, non- 
privileged cabs, which are admitted to 
stations after all the privileged have 
been hired, named after the Prussian 
Field - Marshal who arrived on the 
field of Waterloo only to do the work 
that chanced to be undone. 

Bludgeoner. A bully, pimp, 

Bludger. A thief, who does not 
hesitate to use violence ; literally one 
who will use a bludgeon. 

Bludget. A female thief, who 
decoys her victims into alley-ways, 
etc., to rob them. 

Blue. 1. A policeman : from the 
colour of the uniform ; also (collect- 

ively). Blues, Men in Blue, Blue-boys, 
Blue-bottles, Blue-devils, Royal Regi- 
ment of Foot-guards Blue. 2. Among 
licensed victuallers and their customers 
in certain districts of Wales a com- 
promise between the half -pint and 
the pint pot ; it is not recognised as a 
legal measure by the authorities, but 
the Board of Trade has pointed out 
to the local authorities that there is 
nothing in the Weights and Measures 
Act to prevent the use of the Blue or to 
make its possessor liable to penalties, 
always provided of course that the 
vessel is not used as a measure. 3. A 
scholar of Christ's Hospital : a blue- 
coat boy : also derived from the colour 
of the clothes a blue drugget gown or 
body with ample skirts to it, a yellow 
vest underneath in winter time, small 
clothes of Russia duck, worsted 
yellow stockings, a leathern girdle, and 
a little black worsted cap, usually 
carried in the hand, being the com- 
plete costume ; this was the ordinary 
dress of children in humble life in 
Tudor times. 4. Short for blue- 
stocking (q.v.) ; formerly a contempt- 
uous term for a woman having (or 
affecting) literary tastes (1788). 5. 
Female learning or pedantry (1824). 
6. At Oxford and Cambridge a man is 
said to get his blue when selected as a 
competitor in inter-university sports : 
the University colours are, for Oxford, 
dark blue ; and for Cambridge, light 
blue : cf. to get one's silk, said of a 
barrister when made King's Counsel. 
As adj., (1) applied, usually in con- 
tempt, to women of literary tastes : 
FT., bleue celle-la ; (2) indecent ; 
smutty ; obscene ; (3) gloomy, 
fearful, depressed, low-spirited : cf. to 
look blue, blue funk, and in the blues. 
As verb, (1) to blush (1709); (2) to 
pawn, pledge, spend, actually to get 
rid of money quickly : cf. Blew ; (3) to 
miscalculate, to make a mess of 
anything, to mull ; (4) to steal, 
plunder ; to be blued, to be robbed : see 
Prig. By all that's blue, a euphemistic 
oath : probably by Heaven : it may 
be compared with the French parbleu, 
synonymous with par Dieu. Till all 
is blue, (1) to the utmost, the end, for 
an indefinite period : Smyth, in his 
Sailors' Word Book, says this phrase 
is borrowed from the idea of a vessel 
making out of port and getting into 
deep water ; (2) tipsy : see Screwed 

Blue Apron. 

Blue Murder. 

(1616) : cf. Fr., avoir un coup cFbleu. 
To look blue, to be confounded, sur- 
prised, astonished, annoyed, dis- 
appointed. Fr., en r ester tout bleu, en 
lire bleu, en bailler tout bleu ( 1 600). To 
make the air blue, to curse, swear. 
True blue, faithful, genuine, real : an 
allusion to blue as the colour of con- 
stancy (1383). 

Blue Apron. A tradesman (1721). 

Bluebacks. 1. The paper money 
of the Confederates : originating, as 
in the case of United States paper 
currency greenbacks, in the colour of 
the printing on the reverse. 2. The 
Orange Free State paper money. 

Blue Bellies. A nickname be- 
stowed by Southerners, during the 
Civil War, upon their opponents of 
the North, whose uniform was blue : 
also Boys in blue, Yanks, etc. The 
Southerners, on the other hand, re- 
ceived such names as The secesh, 
Rebs, and Johnny Rebs, the latter 
being some times shortened to Johnnies. 
The grey uniform of the Confederates 
likewise caused them to be styled 
Boys in grey, and Greybacks. 

Blue Bills (Winchester College). 
A tradesman's bills sent home to the 
parents and guardians of students. 

Blue Billy. A handkerchief 
(blue ground with white spots) some- 
times worn and used as a colour at 
prize-fights : see Billy. 

Blue Blanket. 1. The sky: 
probably suggested by Shakespeare's 
Blanket of the dark (Macbeth, i. 
v.) (1720). 2. A rough overcoat made 
of coarse pilot cloth. 

Blue Blazes. See Blazes. 

Blue Boar. A venereal disease. 

Blue Bottle. 1. A policeman, 
constable, watchman (1598). 2. A 
serving-man : blue was the usual habit 
of servants (1602). 3. A term of re- 
proach for a servant. 

Blue Boy. A bubo, a tumour or 
abscess with inflammation. 

Blue-boys. The police. 

Blue Butter. Mercurial ointment. 

Blue-cap. A Scotchman (1596). 
2. A kind of ale (1822). 

Blue-coat. 1. A constable, 
guardian of public order. 2. A serv- 
ing man, and, 3. (generally) one of the 
lower orders : as wearing coats of blue 
(1600). 4. A blue-coat boy : see Blue. 

Blued (or Slewed). Tipsy, drunk: 
see Screwed. 

Blue Dahlia. Something rare (or 
seldom seen), a rara avis. 

BlueDevils. 1. Dejection, low- 
ness of spirits, hypochondria (1786). 
2. Delirium tremens (1818). Hence, 
such derivatives as Blue devilage, Blue 
devilry, Blue devilism ; and Blue 

Blue Fear. Extreme fright : the 
same as Blue funk (q.v.). 

Blue Flag. A blue apron (q.v.) 
worn by butchers, publicans, and 
other tradesmen (Grose). 

Blue Funk. Extreme fright, 
nervousness, dread (1856). 

Blue - gown. 1. A loose woman : 
a blue-gown was the dress of igno- 
miny for a harlot in the house of 
correction (Nares). 2. A beggar, 
especially a licensed beggar who wore 
the dress as a badge. 

Blue Hen's Chickens. 
The inhabitants of Delaware. The 
nickname arose thus : Captain Cald- 
well, an officer of the first Delaware 
regiment in the American War of In- 
dependence, was noted for his love of 
cock-fighting. Being personally popu- 
lar, and his regiment becoming famous 
for their valour, they were soon known 
as game - cocks ; and as Caldwell 
maintained that no cock was truly 
game unless its mother was a blue hen, 
his regiment, and subsequently Dela- 
wareans generally, became known as 
blue hen's chickens, and Delaware as 
the Blue Hen State for the same reason. 
A boaster is also often brought to book 
by the sarcasm Your mother was a 
blue hen no doubt. 

Blue Horse. The Fourth Dragoon 
Guards (1746-88). 

Blue- jacket. A sailor ; especially 
used to distinguish seamen from the 

Blue Laws. Puritanic laws of 
extreme severity : originally of enact- 
ments at New Haven, Conn., U.S.A. 

Blue Lightning. A revolver. 

Blue Monday. A Monday 
spent in dissipation and absence from 

Blue Moon. Once in a blue 
moon, extremely seldom, an unlimited 
time, a rarely recurring period : an 
old phrase, first used in the sense of 
something absurd ; a blue moon, like 
the Greek Kalends, is something which 
does not exist (1526). 

Blue Murder (or Blue Murders) 




Cries of terror (or alarm), a great 
noise, an unusual racket: cf. Fr., 

Blueness. Indecency (1840). Fr., 
horreurt, bftises, gueultes. 

Blue Noses. The natives of 
Nova Scotia : in allusion, it is said, 
to a potato of that name which Nova 
Scotians claim to be the best in the 
world ; Proctor, however, hazards 
the suggestion that the nickname 
refers to the blueness of nose resulting 
from intense cold (1837). 

Blue Peter. The signal or 
call for trumps at whist : properly a 
blue flag with white square in centre, 
hoisted as a signal for immediate 

Blue Pigeon. 1. Lead used for 
roofing purposes : see Blue pigeon 
flyer. 2. The sounding lead. 

Blue Pigeon Flyer. A thief 
who steals lead from the roofs of 
buildings. Hotten thus explains the 
modus operandi. Sometimes a journey- 
man plumber, glazier, or other 
workman, when repairing houses, 
strips off the lead, and makes away 
with it. This performance is, though, 
by no means confined to workmen. 
An empty house is often entered and 
the whole of the roof in ite vicinity 
stripped, the only notice given to the 
folks below being received by them on 
the occasion of a heavy downfall of 
rain. The term flyer has, indeed, of 
late years been more peculiarly ap- 
plied to the man who steals the lead 
in pursuance of his vocation as a thief, 
than to him who takes it because it 
comes in the way of his work (1789). 
Fr., limousineur, gras-doublier, mas- 
taroufleur. To fly the blue, pigeon, to 
steal lead from the roofs of houses. 

Blue Pill. A bullet; also Blue 
plum and lilue. whistler. 

Blue Ribbon (or Riband). A first 
prize, the greatest distinction. 

Blue Ruin. Gin : see Drinks 

Blues. 1. Despondency, hypo- 
chondria, depression of spirits : a 
shortened form of blue devils (q.v.). 
2. The police. 3. The Royal Horse 
Guards Blue are popularly so known 
from their blue uniform with scarlet 
facings : the corps first obtained the 
name of Oxford Blues in 1690, to 
distinguish it from a Dutch regiment 
of Horse Guards dressed in blue, 

commanded by the Earl of Portland, 
the former being commanded by the 
Earl of Oxford ; subsequently the 
regiment was, during the campaign in 
Flanders [1742-45], known as the 
Blue Guards. 

Blue Skin. 1. Formerly a 
contemptuous term for a Presby- 
terian. 2. A half-breed the child of 
a black woman by a white man. 

Blue Squadron. Mixed blood ; 
properly one with a Hindoo strain : 
Eurasians belong to the blue squad- 
ron : cf. Touch of the tar brush. 

Blue Stocking. A literary 
lady : applied usually with the im- 
putation of pedantry. The gener- 
ally received explanation, is that the 
term is derived from the name given 
to certain meetings held by ladies in 
the days of Dr. Johnson for conversa- 
tion with distinguished literary men. 
One of the most eminent of these 
literati was a Mr. Benjamin Stilling- 
fleet, who always wore blue stockings, 
and whose conversation at these 
meetings was so much prized, that his 
absence at any time was felt to be a 
great loss, so that the remark became 
common, We can do nothing without 
the blue stockings, hence these meet- 
ings were sportively called blue- 
stocking clubs, and the ladies who 
attended them blue-stockings. It is 
stated that the name specially arose in 
this way. A foreigner of rank refused 
to accompany a friend to one of these 
parties on the plea of being in his 
travelling costume, to which there was 
the reply, Oh ! we never mind dress 
on these occasions ; you may come in 
bat bleus or blue stockings, with 
allusion to Stillingfleet's stockings, 
when the foreigner, fancying that bat 
bleus were part of the necessary cos- 
tume, called the meeting ever after the 
Bas-bleu Society. In modern slang 
the term blue-stocking is abbrevi- 
ated into blue. Derivatives are blue- 
stockingism, bluc-stockinger, etc. (1738). 

Blue Stone. Gin (or whisky) 
of so bad a quality that it can only be 
compared to vitriol, of which blue-stone 
is also a nickname in the north of 
England and Scotland. 

Blue Tape. Gin : see Drinks. 

Blue Water. The open sea. 

Blue Whistler. A bullet. 

Bluey. 1. Lead: see Blue 
pigeon. 2. A bushman's bundle, the 




outside wrapper of which is generally 
a blue blanket hence the name : also 
called swag (q.v.) and drum (q.v.). 

Bluey-hunter. A thief who steals 
lead, as described under Blue pigeon 
flyer (q.v.) (1851). 

B 1 u ff . An excuse, pretence, 
that which is intended to hoodwink or 
blind. As verb, to turn aside, stop, 
hoodwink, to blind as to one's real 

Bluffer. 1. An innkeeper (Qrose). 
2. A bo'sun. 

Blunderbuss. A stupid blundering 
fellow : see Buffle (Qrose). 

Blunt. Generic for money, espe- 
cially ready money: see Rhino (1714). 

Blunted. Possessed of money, in 
comfortable circumstances, warm ( q. v. ) 

Blunt-worker. A blunderer 
(1440). Blunt-working, blundering. 

B 1 u n t y. A stupid fellow, one 
slow-witted : see Buffle. 

Blur-paper. A scribbler (1603). 

Blush. To blush like a black or 
blue dog, to blush not at all (1579). 

Blushet. A modest girl, a little 
blusher (1625). 

B. N. C. Brasenose : the initials 
of Brasen Nose College, Oxford : in 
spite of the nose over the gate, the 
probability is that the real name was 
Brasinium; it is still famous for its 

Bo (or Boh). To cry (or say) Bo 
to a goose (battledore, bull, etc.), to open 
one's mouth, to speak. 

Boanerges. A loud, vociferous 
speaker : i.e. a son of thunder 
(Mark iii. 17). 

Board. 1. To borrow. 2. To 
accost, ask of, make a demand ; i.e. 
to come to close quarters (1547). To 
board in the smoke, to take one un- 
awares, or by surprise. On the board, 
enjoying all the privileges and emolu- 
ments of a competent workman : when 
an apprentice becomes a regular jour- 
neyman he goes on the board : tailors 
usually work squatting on a low raised 
platform hence possibly the expres- 
sion. To keep one's name on the board, to 
remain a member of a College. To sweep 
the board, to pocket all the stakes. To 
begin the board, to take precedence. 
To go by the board, to go for good and 
all, be completely done for, ruined. 
To sail on another board, to change 
one's tactics. 

Boarding House (or School). 

Newgate: but equally applicable to 
any gaol New York thieves apply it 
to the Tombs : see Cage. 

Boardman. A standing pat- 
terer : they endeavour to attract at- 
tention to their papers, or, more 
commonly, pamphlets ... by means 
of a board with coloured pictures upon 
it, illustrative of the contents of what 
they sell : this in street technology 
is board work : sometimes called a 
sandwich man. 

Board of Green Cloth. A card 
(or billiard) table. 

Boat. Formerly the hulks ; 
latterly to any prison : see Cage. To 
have an oar in another's boat, to 
meddle, busybody. To sail in the 
same boat, to pursue the same course. 
As verb, ( 1 ) originally to transport : the 
term is now applied to penal servitude. 
To get the boat (or to be boated), to be 
sentenced to a long term of imprison- 
ment equivalent to transportation 
under the old system ; (2) to join as 
partner : evidently a corruption of 
to be in the same boat, i.e. to be in 
the same position or circumstances. 
To bail one's own boat, to be self- 
reliant, to paddle one's own canoe. 

Bob. LA shilling: seeRhino (1812). 
2. A shoplifter's assistant ; one who 
receives and carries off stolen goods : 
Fr., nonne (or noune). 3. Gin: see 
Drinks ( 1749). 4. An infantry soldier ; 
generally Light-bob, i.e. a soldier of the 
fight infantry (1544). 5. (Winchester 
College). A large white jug contain- 
ing about a gallon in measure, and 
used for beer. As adj., lively, nice, in 
good spirits (1721). As verb, to cheat, 
trick, disappoint : also to 606 out of 
( 1605). As intj., Stop ! That's enough ! 
Dry bob (Wet bob) (Eton College), the 
first-named is one who devotes him- 
self to cricket or football and other 
land sports ; the latter one who goes 
in for rowing and aquatics generally 
(1844). All is bob, All's safe, serene, 
gay (1786). Bear a bob I Be 
brisk ! look sharp ! To give the bob, ( 1) 
to give the door : used by Massinger 
It can be no other but to give me the 
bob; (2) to befool, mock, impose upon. 
S'help me bob, a street oath, equivalent 
to So help me God ; a corrupted form 
of the legal oath : So help is pro- 
nounced swelp : also a'help the cot my 
greens the toturs, etc. To shift one's 
bob, to go away. 



Bobber, l. \ follow- workman, 
mate, chum. 2. A spurious plural 
of bob (q.v.) = a shilling. 

Bobbery. A noise, squabble, 
disturbance, racket (1813). 

Bobbish. Frequently pretty 
bobbish, i.e. hearty, in good health 
and spirits, clever, spruce (1819) ; also 

Bobby. A policeman : this nick- 
name, though possibly not derived 
from, was certainly popularised by 
the fact that the Metropolitan Police 
Act of 1828 was mainly the work of Mr., 
afterwards Sir Robert Peel. Long 
before that statesman remodelled the 
police, however, the term Bobby the 
beadle was in use to signify a guard- 
ian of a public square or other open 
space. There seems, however, a lack 
of evidence, and examples of its 
literary use prior to 1851 have not 
been discovered. At the Universities 
the Proctors are or used to be called 

Bobby- twister. A burglar or 
thief (q.v.), who, when resisting pur- 
suit or capture, uses violence. 

Bob-cull. A good fellow, pleasant 

Bob my pal. A girl, i.e. gal. 

Bobstick. A shilling's worth. 

Bob Tail. 1. A lewd woman. 2. 
A contemptible fellow Tag, rag, 
and bobtail. See Tag. 

Bocardo. A prison : see Cage : 
specially the prison in the old North 
Gate of Oxford, demolished in 1771. 

Boco. 1. The nose : see Conk. 2. 
Nonsense, bosh. 

Bodier. A blow on the side of the 

Bodkin. Amongst sporting men, 
a person who takes his turn between 
the sheets on alternate nights, when 
an hotel has twice as many visitors 
as it can comfortably lodge ; as, for 
instance, during a race - week. A 
transferred sense from To ride (or sit) 
bodkin, to take a place and be wedged 
in between other persons when the 
accommodation is intended for two 
only (1638). 

Body-cover. A coat. 

Body of Divinity Bound in Black 
Calf. A parson : see Devil-dodger. 

Body-slangs. Fetters : see Dar- 
bies (1819). 

Body-snatcher. 1. A bailiff or 
runner : the snatch was the trick by 

which the bailiff captured the delin- 
quent. 2. A policeman. 3. A gener- 
ally objectionable individual : also 
mean body tnatcher. 4. A violator of 
graves, resurrectionist : also Body- 
lifter (1833). 5. An undertaker. 

Bog. 1. The works at Dartmoor, 
on which convicts labour ; during 
recent years a large quantity of land 
has been reclaimed in this way. 2. An 
abbreviated form of bog-house (q.v.). 
As verb, to ease oneself, evacuate. 

Bogey. See Bogy. 

Boggle- de- Botch ( Boggled y- 
Botch). A bungle, mess, hash : 
Boggle, however, is more frequently 
employed (1834). 

Bog-house (Bog-shop). A privy, 
necessary house (1671). 

Boglander. An Irishman : from 
the boggy and marshy character of a 
considerable portion of the Emerald 
Isle (1698). 

Bog Latin. A spurious mode 
of speech simulating the Latin in con- 
struction : see Dog Latin. 

Bog-oranges. Potatoes : see 
Bogland, with an eye to the vegetable 
in question forming a very substantial 
food staple of the Irish peasantry. 

Bog-trotter. An Irishman : 
Camden, however (c. 1605), speaking 
of the debateable land on the bor- 
ders of England and Scotland, says, 
Both these dales breed notable bog- 
trotters; so the original sense would 
appear to have been, accustomed to 
walk across bogs ; as a nickname for 
an Irishman, it dates at least from 
1671. Bog - trotting, living among 
bogs ; e.g. a bog-trotting Irishman 

Bogus. Spurious, fictitious, sham, 
not what it professes to be : of 
American origin. Dr. Murray, who, 
while slily satirising the bogus deri- 
vations circumstantially given, says : 
Dr. S. Willard, of Chicago, in a letter 
to the editor of this Dictionary, quotes 
from the Painesvitte (Ohio) Telegraph 
of July 6 and Nov. 2, 1827, the word 
bogus as a subs., applied to an ap- 
paratus for coining false money. Mr. 
Eber D. Howe, who was then editor of 
that paper, describes in his Autobio- 
graphy (1878) the discovery of such a 
piece of mechanism in the hands of a 
gang of coiners at Painesville, in May 
1827 ; it was a mysterious-looking 
object, and some one in the crowd 




styled it a bogus, a designation adopted 
in the succeeding numbers of the 
paper. Dr. Willard considers this to 
have been short for tanlrabogus, a 
word familiar to him from his child- 
hood, and which in his father's time 
was commonly applied in Vermont to 
any ill-looking object ; he points out 
that tantrabobs is given in Halliwell 
as a Devonshire word for the devil. 
[Bogus seems thus to be related to 
bogy, etc.] (1825). 

Bogy, Bogey. A landlord : 
Fr., Monsieur Vautour (vautour & 
vulture). Ask Bogy, a reply to a 
question (Grose) : modern God knows ! 
or Bramah knows ! under similar cir- 
cumstances. As adj., sombre, dark 
in tint : said of a painting exhibiting 
these characteristics. 

Bohemian. A gipsy of society; 
one who either cuts himself off, or is 
by his habits cut off, from society for 
which he is otherwise fitted ; especi- 
ally an artist, literary man, or actor, 
who leads a free, vagabond, or irre- 
gular life, not being particular as to 
the society he frequents, and despis- 
ing conventionality generally : used 
with considerable latitude, with or 
without reference to morals (O.E.D.). 

Bonn (American College). A trans- 
lation, pony (q.v.) : the volumes of 
Bonn's Classical Library are in such 
general use among under-graduates 
in American Colleges, that Bohn has 
become a common name for a trans- 

Boil. To betray, peach (1602). 
To boil down, to reduce in bulk by con- 
densing or epitomising. To boil the 
pot, to gain (or supply) one's liveli- 
hood. To keep the pot boiling, to keep 
going. The blood boils, of strong 
emotion, anger, or resentment. To 
boU one'slobster, to enter the army after 
having been in the church. 

Boiled Shirt (Biled Shirt or 
Boiled Rag). A white shirt (1854). 

Boiler (Winchester College). 
1. A plain coffee-pot used for heating 
water : called fourpenny and sixpenny 
boilers, not from their price, but 
from the quantity of milk they will 
hold : ro irav boilers were large tin 
saucepan-like vessels in which water 
for hot bidets (q.v.) was heated. 2, 
See Pot boiler. 

Boiler - plated. Imperturbable, 
stolid, stoical. 

Boilers (or Brompton Boilers). 
1. The Kensington Museum and 
School of Art, in allusion to the 
peculiar form of the temporary build- 
ings, and the fact of their being mainly 
composed of, and covered with sheet 
iron. This has been changed since the 
extensive alterations in the building, 
or rather pile of buildings, and the 
term boilers is now applied to the 
Bethnal Green Museum : cf. Pepper- 
boxes. 2. (Royal Military Academy). 
Boiled potatoes : Fried potatoes are 
called Greasers. 

Boiling (or B i 1 i n g). Whole 
boiling (or bUing), the whole lot, entire 
quantity: also whole gridiron (q.v.) 
and All the shoot (1835). 

Boke. The nose. 

Bold. Bold as brass, audaci- 
ously forward, presumptuous, without 

Boler (or Bowler). A stiff felt 
hat (1861). 

B o 1 1 y (Marlborough College). 

Bolt. The throat (1821). As 
verb (at one period slang, now recog- 
nised), 1. To escape, leave suddenly : 
an instance of a word once orthodox, 
subsequently fell into disrepute, but 
which, after having for generations 
served as a mere slang term, is now 
nearly as respectable as when Dryden 
wrote : I have reflected on those 
who, from time to time, have shot into 
the world, some bolting out on the 
stage with vast applause, and others 
hissed off. 2. The usage hi the 
United States indicates the right 
of the independently minded to 
revolt against partisan rule, as He 
bolted the party nominations : also 
substantively, as He has organised a 
bolt. 3. To eat hurriedly without 
chewing, swallow whole, gulp down. 
To get the bolt, sentenced to penal 
servitude. To turn the corner of Bolt 
Street, to run : cf. Queer Street. See 

Bolter. 1. One who hides 
himself in his own house, or some 
privileged place, and dares only peep, 
but not go out of his retreat (Dyche) : 
the privileged places referred to were 
such as Whitefriars, the Mint, Higher 
and Lower Alsatia, etc. 2. One who 
bolts ; especially applied to horses, 
but figuratively to persons in the sense 
of one given to throwing off restraint ; 




in American parlance one who kick* 
(q.v.) (1840). 3. One who exercises 
the right of abstention in regard to his 
political party. 

Bolt-in-Tun. Bolted, run 
away (1819). A term founded on the 
cant word bolt, and merely a fanciful 
variation very common among flash 
persons, there being in London a 
famous inn so called ; it is customary 
when a man has run away from his 
lodgings, broken out of jail, or made 
any other sudden movement, to say, 
the Bolt -in -tun is concerned, or, 
he's gone to the Bolt-in-tun instead 
of simply saying, he has bolted, etc. 

Boltsprit (Boltspreet, Bowsprit). 
The nose : see Conk (1690). 

Bolus. An apothecary, a doctor. 

Boman. A gallant fellow. 

Bombay Ducks. 1. The Bombay 
regiments of the East India Company's 
army. 2. A well - known delicacy : 
the Anglo - Indian relation of the 
Digby chick ; alive, it is a fish called 
the bummelo ; dead and dried, it 
becomes a duck. 

Bombo, Bumbo. A nickname 
given to various mixtures, but chiefly 
to cold punch ; Smollett, in a note in 
Roderick Random, speaks of it as A 
liquor composed of rum, sugar, water, 
and nutmeg (1748). 

B o n a. A girl, young woman, 
belle : a modern form, in a good sense, 
of Bona-roba (q.v.). As adj., good. 

Bonanza. A happy hit, stroke 
of fortune, success : from the Spanish, 
a fail wind, fine weather, prosperous 
voyage ; Bonanza was originally the 
name of a mine in Nevada, which once, 
quite unexpectedly, turned out to be 
a big thing, and of enormous value ; 
now applied to any lucky hit or suc- 
cessful enterprise. 

Bona-roba, subs. (old). A wench, 
specially a courtesan, a showy wanton. 
The term was much in use among the 
older dramatists. Ben Jonson speaks 
of a bouncing bona-roba ; and Cowley 
seems to have considered it as implying 
a fine, tall figure. Bona in modern 
times is frequently employed to signify 
a girl or young woman, without re- 
ference to morals (1589). 

Bonce. 1. The head (probably a 
derivative of sense 2) 2. A large 
marble (origin unknown, but see Alley). 

Bond. Our Lady' s bonds, pregnancy, 

Bone. 1. A bribe to a Custom! 
House officer. 2. Something relished 
(1884). As adj., good, excellent; 
O is the vagabonds' hieroglyphic for 
bone, or good, chalked by them on 
houses and street corners as a hint to 
succeeding beggars. As verb, (1) to 
filch, steal, make off with, take into 
custody (1748); (2) to bribe, grease 
the palm ; (3) to study : see Bonn. To 
bone standing, to study hard. The ten 
bones, the fingers : as in asseveration, 
By these ten bones ! To have a bone 
in the leg (arm, throat, etc. ), a humorous 
reason for declining to do anything, a 
feigned obstacle (1642). Hard (or 
dry) as a bone, as hard (or dry) as may 
be ( 1833). Bones of me (you, etc. ), an 
exclamation (1588). To feel a thing 
in one's bones, to feel acutely, under- 
stand perfectly. A bone to pick, a 
difficulty to solve, nut to crack, a 
matter of dispute, something dis- 
agreeable needing explanation, a 
settlement to make. A bone of con- 
tention, a source of contention or 
discord. To make bones of, to make 
objection to, have scruples of, hesitate. 
To find bones in, to be unable to credit, 
believe, or swallow. To put a bone 
in one's hood, to break one's head. To 
carry a bone in the mouth (or teeth), of 
a ship when cutting through the water 
making foam about her. One end is 
pretty sure to be bone, an old-time 
saying equivalent to an admission 
that All is not gold that glitters ; that 
the realization of one's hopes never 
comes up to the ideal formed of them. 
To be upon the bones, to attack (1616). 

Bone-ache. The lues venerea ( 1 592). 

Bone-baster. A staff, cudgel ( 1600). 

Bone-box. The mouth : see 
Potato-trap (Grose). 

Bone-breaker. Fever and ague. 

Bone-crusher. A heavy-bore 
rifle used for killing big game. 

Boned. See Bone, verb, sense 1. 

Bone-grubber. 1. One who lives 
by collecting bones from heaps of 
refuse, selling his spoils at the marine 
stores or to bone grinders (1750). 2. 
A resurrectionist, a violator of graves : 
Cobbett was therefore called a bone- 
grubber, because he brought the 
remains of Tom Paine from America. 

Bone-house. 1. The human 
body. 2. A coffin : also a charnel- 
house : Americans generally call a 
cemetery a bone-yard (1836). 


Bone Musde. 


Bone Muscle. To practise 

Bone-picker. 1. A footman : Fr., 
larbin. 2. A collector of bones, rags, 
and other refuse from the streets and 
places where rubbish is placed, for the 
purpose of sale to marine dealers and 
crushers : the same as bone -grubber. 

Bone-polisher. The cat - o' - nine- 

Boner (Winchester College). A 
sharp blow on the spine. 

Bones. 1. Dice, also called St. 
Hugh's bones (q.v.) To rattle the 
bones, to play at dice (1386). 2. 
Pieces of bones held between the fingers 
and played Spanish castanet fashion : 
generally an accompaniment to banjo 
and other negro minstrel music 
(1592). 3. A member of a negro 
minstrel troupe ; generally applied to 
one of the end men who plays the 
bones (sense 2) (1851). 4. The bones 
of the human body, but more generally 
applied to the teeth : Fr., pUoches, 
ossdots. 5. A surgeon ; generally 
sawbones (q.v.). 6. (a) The shares 
of Wickens, Pease and Co. ; (b) North 
British 4% 1st Preference Shares, the 
4% 2nd Preference Stock being nick- 
named Bonettas. One end is pretty 
sure to be bone : an old-time saying 
equivalent to an admission that All is 
not gold that glitters ; that the realiza- 
tion of one's hopes never comes up 
to the ideal formed of them. To be 
upon the bones, to attack. 

Bonesetter. A hard riding 
horse, ricketty conveyance : see Bone- 
shaker (Grose). 

Bone-shake. To ride a bone- 
shaker (q.v.). 

Bone-shaker. 1. A hard trotting 
horse : see Bone-setter. 2. An ordin- 
ary, as distinguished from a safety, 
a type of bicycle in use prior to the 
introduction of india-rubber tires and 
other manifold improvements. 

Bonettas. The 4% 2nd North 
British 2nd Preference Stock. 

Bong. See Boung. 

Boniface. The landlord of a tavern 
or inn, mine host : from Farquhar's 
play of The Beaux' Stratagem (1707). 

Boning. Boning adjutant, 
aping a military bearing. Boning 
muscle (q.v.) going in largely for 
gymnastics. Boning demerit, giving no 
cause for complaint as regards one's 
conduct : all West Point cadet slang. 

Bonk. A short, steep hill. 

Bonnering. Burning for heresy 
(1613) :cf. Boycott, Burke, Maffick, etc. 

Bonnet. 1. A gambling cheat, 
decoy at auctions ; sometimes called a 
bearer up : the bonnet plays as though 
he were a member of the general 
public, and by his good luck, or by the 
force of his example, induces others to 
venture their stakes; bonneting is often 
done in much better society than that 
to be found in the ordinary gaming- 
rooms ; a man who persuades another 
to buy an article on which he receives 
commission or percentage, is said to 
bonnet or bear-up for the seller (1812). 
2. A pretext, pretence, make believe. 3. 
A woman : cf . petticoat. As verb, ( 1 ) to 
act as a bonnet, cheat, puff, to bear up 
(q.v.) ; (2) to crush a hat over a man's 
eyes (1835). To have a green bonnet, 
to fail in business. A bee in one's 
bonnet, see Bee. To fill a person's 
bonnet, to fill his place, equal him. 
To rive the bonnet of, to excel. 

Bonnet- builder. A milliner (1839). 

Bonneter. 1. See Bonnet. 2. A 
crushing blow on the hat. 

Bonnet - laird. A petty proprie- 
tor in Scotland : as wearing a bonnet 
like humbler folk. 

Bonnet-man. A highlander. 

Bonnets-so-blue. Irish stew. 

Bonny. Looking well, plump. 
2. Fine, good, very. To give a bonny 
penny for, to pay a long price. A 
bonny row, a jolly uproar. 

Bono. Good : from the Latin. 

Booby. 1. A stupid fellow, lubber, 
clown : see Buffle. 2. A dunce, the last 
in a class. To beat the booby, see Beat. 

Booby Hutch. A police station. 

Booby - trap. An arrangement of 
books, wet sponges, vessels of water, 
etc., so arranged on the top of a door 
set ajar that when the intended victim 
enters the room the whole falls on him 

Boodle. 1. A crowd, com- 
pany, the whole boiling (q.v.) : often 
caboodle (q.v.). 2. Capital, stock-in- 
trade : specially something secret, 
peculiar and illegal ; also money used 
for bribery, money that comes as spoils, 
the result of some secret deal, the profits 
of which are silently divided ; the term 
is likewise used to cover the booty 
of a bank robber, or the absconding 
cashier. Amongst the thieving fra- 
ternity boodle is used to denote money 



that is actually spurious or counterfeit, 
and not merely money used for nefari- 
ous purposes, but which as currency 
is genuine enough. 3. Generic for 
money : see Rhino. 4. A fool, noodle : 
see Buffle. To carry boodle, to utter 
base money. Fake - boodle, a roll of 
paper over which, after folding, a 
dollar bill is pasted, and another bill 
being loosely wrapped round this, 
it looks as if the whole roll is 
made up of a large sum of money in 

B o o d 1 e r. 1. One who bribes 
or corrupts. 2. A man uttering base 
money : swindlers of this type gener- 
ally hunt in couples ; one carrying the 
bulk of the counterfeit money, and 
receiving the good change as obtained 
by his companion, who utters the 
boodle piece by piece ; the game is 
generally worked so that at the slightest 
alarm the boodle carrier vanishes and 
leaves nothing to incriminate his con- 

B o o g e t. A travelling tinker's 
basket (Harmon) (1567). 

Book. 1. In betting (more 
especially in connection with horse- 
racing), an arrangement of bets made 
against certain horses, and so cal- 
culated that the bookmaker (q.v.) has 
a strong chance of winning something 
whatever the result (1836). By the 
book, formally, in set phrase. In a 
person's good (or bad) books, in favour 
(or disfavour). Out of one's book, 
mistaken, out of one's reckoning. 
Without one's book (1) unauthorised, 
(2) by rote. To drive to book, to 
compel to give evidence on oath. 
To bring to book, to bring to account. 
To speak like a book, to speak with 
authority. To talk like a book, to 
speak in set terms, as a precisian. To 
take a leaf out of a person's book, to 
take example by him. 2. The first six 
tricks at whist. 3. The copy of words 
to which music is set, the words of a 
play : formerly only applied to the 
libretto of an opera (1768). To know 
one's book, to have made up one's mind, 
to know what is best for one's interest. 
To suit one's book, to suit one's arrange- 
ments, fancy, or wish. 

Book Answerer. A critic (1760). 

Booked. Caught, fixed, disposed 
of, destined, etc. (1840). 

Book-form. The relative powers 
of speed (or endurance) of race-horses 

as set down in the Racing Calendar or 

Bookie (or Booky). A book- 
maker (q.v.). 

Bookmaker. A professional 
betting- man. The English Encyclo- 
paedia says : In betting there are two 
parties one called layers, as the 
bookmakers are termed, and the other 
backers, in which class may be in- 
cluded owners of horses as well as the 
public. The backer takes the odds 
which the bookmaker lays against a 
horse, the former speculating upon 
the success of the animal, the latter 
upon its defeat ; and taking the case 
of Cremorne for the Derby of 1872, 
just before the race, the bookmaker 
would have laid 3 to 1, or perhaps 
1000 to 300 against him, by which 
transaction, if the horse won, as he did, 
the backer would win 1000 for risking 
300, and the bookmaker lose the 
1000 which he risked to win the 
smaller sum. At first sight this may 
appear an act of very questionable 
policy on the part of the bookmaker ; 
but really it is not so, because so far 
from running a greater risk than the 
backer, he runs less, inasmuch as it is 
his plan to lay the same amount (1000) 
against every horse in the race, and as 
there can be but one winner, he would 
in all probability receive more than 
enough money from the many losers 
to pay the stated sum of 1000 which 
the chances are he has laid against the 
one winner, whichever it is (1862). 

Bookmaker's Pocket. A breast- 
pocket made inside the waistcoat, for 
notes of large amount (Hottcn). 

Books. 1. A pack of cards ; 
used mainly by professional card- 
players : also called devil's books, 
book of broads, book of briefs : Fr., 
juge de paix, cartouchiere a portces (a 
prepared pack used by sharpers) 
(1706). 2. (Winchester College), (a) 
The prizes formerly presented by Lord 
Say and Sele, now given by the govern- 
ing body, to the Senior in each 
division at the end of Half, (b) 
The school is thus divided : Sixth 
Book Senior and Junior Division ; 
the whole of the rest of the School is 
in Fifth Book Senior Part, Middle 
Part, Junior Part, each part being 
divided into so many divisions, Senior, 
Middle, and Junior, or Senior, 2nd, 
3rd, and Junior, as the case may require. 




Formerly, there was also Fourth 
Book, but it ceased to exist about 
twenty -five years ago (1840). (c) 
Up at books, in class, repeating lessons : 
now called Up to books, (d) Books 
chambers, on Remedies (a kind of 
whole holiday), we also went into School 
in the morning and afternoon for an 
hour or two without masters ; this was 
called books chambers ; and on Sun- 
days, from four till a quarter to five. 
(Mansfield), (e) To get or make books, 
to make the highest score at anything. 

Bookwork. Mathematics that 
can be learned verbatim from books 
all that are not problems. 

Bookwright. An author. 

Boom. This word is a compara- 
tively recent production in its slang 
sense ; and is used in a variety of com- 
binations ; as, The whole State is 
booming for Smith, or The boys have 
whooped up the State to boom for 
Smith, or The State boom is ahead in 
this State, etc., etc. Stocks and money 
are said to be booming when active ; 
and any particular spot within a 
flourishing district is regarded as within 
the boom - belt. A successful team 
or party is said to be a booming squad, 
and we even read of boomlets to ex- 
press progress of a lesser degree. As 
subs, commercial activity, rapid ad- 
vance in prices, flourishing state of 
affairs synonymous with extreme 
vigour and effectiveness (1875). As 
verb, to make rapid and vigorous 
progress, advance by leaps and bounds, 
push, puff, bring into prominence with 
a rush (1874). To top one's boom off, 
to be off (or to start) in a certain direc- 

Boomer. 1. One who booms or 
causes an enterprise to become flourish- 
ing, active or notorious. 2. Anybody 
(or anything) considerably above the 
average : a bouncing lie, a fine woman, 
a horse with extra good points, etc., etc. 

Boomerang. Acts or words, 
the results of which recoil upon the 
person from whom they originate : the 
boomerang is properly an Australian 
missile weapon which, when thrown, 
can be made to return to the thrower ; 
or which, likewise, can be caused to 
take an opposite direction to that in 
which it is first thrown (1845). 

Booming. Flourishing, active, 
in good form, large, astonishing. 

Boom-passenger. A convict 

on board ship : prisoners on board 
convict ships were chained to, or were 
made to crawl along or stand on the 
booms for exercise or punishment 

Boon - companion. A comrade 
in a drinking bout, a good fellow 

Boon - companionship. Jollity, 
conviviality (1592). 

Boong. See Bung. 

Boorde. See Bord. 

Boost. A hoisting, shove, lift, 
push up a New England vulgar- 
ism (1858). As verb, to hoist, lift up, 

Boosy. See Boozy. 

Boot. To beat, punish with a 
strap : the punishment is irregular and 
unconventional, being inflicted by 
soldiers on a comrade discovered 
guilty of some serious breach of the un- 
written law of comradeship, such as 
theft, etc. : formerly inflicted with a 
bootjack hence the name. To make 
one boot serve for either leg, to speak 
with double meaning. The boot is on 
the other leg, the case is altered, re- 
sponsibility is shifted. To have one's 
heart in one's boots, to be in extreme 
fear. Over shoes, over boots, reck- 
less continuance of a course begun, 
in for a lamb in for a sheep. Like old 
boots, vigorously, thorough-going. To 
die in one's boots, to be hanged. 

Boot- catcher. A servant whose 
duty it was to remove a person's 

Booth. A house. To heave a 
booth, to rob a house. 

Booth-burster. A loud and 
noisy actor, barn-stormer (q.v.). 

Booting. A punishment ad- 
ministered with a strap. 

Boot- Joe. Musketry drill. 

Bootlick. A flunkey, hanger- 
on, doer of dirty work, toady. As 
verb, to toady, hang on, undertake 
dirty work. 

Boots. 1. The servant at hotels 
and places of a kindred character who 
cleans the boots of visitors : formerly 
called boot - catchers (q.v.), because 
in the old riding and coaching days 
part of their duty was to divest travel- 
lers of their footgear. 2. The youngest 
officer in a regimental mess. 3. In 
humorous (or sarcastic) combination : 
e.g. Clumsy-boots, Lazy-boots, Sly- 
boots, Smooth-boots, etc. 


Boots and Leathers. 

Botany Bay. 

Boots and Leathers. See Com- 
moner Peal. 

Booty. Plunder, spoils, swag (q.v.). 
To play booty, to play falsely, dis- 
honestly ; or unfairly ; this with the 
object of not winning, a previous ar- 
rangement having been made with a 
confederate to share the spoils result- 
ing from the bogus play : sometimes it 
takes the form of permitting the 
victim to win small stakes in order 
to encourage him to hazard larger 
sums which, naturally, he is not 
allowed to win (1575). Booty-fellow, 
a sharer in plunder, illicit - gains, 

Booze. 1. Drink, a draught : 
the older forms are bouse or bouze 
(q.v.), but booze in its present form 
appears as early as 1714. 2. A drink- 
ing bout, tipsy frolic. As verb, to 
drink heavily, tipple, guzzle : an old 
term employed in some sense of to 
drink, as early as 1300. Boozed, 
drunk, fuddled. Boozy, drunken, 
screwed (q.v.). Boozing, the act of 
drinking hard. Boozer, a drunkard, 
a tippler. 

Boozing Cheat A bottle. 

Boozing -ken. A drinking den: 
Fr., bibine : see Lush crib (1567). 

Bpozington. A drunkard, 
Lushington ( q. v. ) 

Borachio. A drunkard : see 
Lushington : properly a akin for hold- 
ing wine (1599). 

B o r a k. To poke borak, to pour 
fictitious news into credulous ears, 
stuff, kid. 

Bord, Borde, Boorde. A 
shilling : see Rhino (1567). 

Bordeaux. Blood : cf. Claret and 
Badminton. Bordeaux hammer, a 
vinous headache. 

Bord You ! An expression used 
to claim the next turn in drinking. 

Bore (old slang, but now recog- 
nised). Anybody (or anything) weari- 
some or annoying. As verb, (I) to 
weary or to be wearied : the word does 
not appear in English literature prior 
to 1750 ; (2) push (or thrust) out of the 
course : amongst pugilists it signifies 
to drive an opponent on to the ropes 
of the ring by sheer weight, whilst 
amongst rowing men it denotes the 
action of a coxswain in so steering a 
boat as to force his opponent into 
the shore, or into still water, thus 
obtaining an unfair advantage; also 

analogously applied to horse - racing 

Born. All one't born days, one's 
lifetime (1740). Born weak, said of 
ft vessel feebly built 

Bosh. Nonsense, rubbish, stuff, 
rot anything beneath contempt : 
Murray says from the Turkish both 
lakerdi, empty talk ; the word became 
current in England from its frequent 
occurrence in Morier's Persian novel, 
Ayesha [1834], an extremely popu- 
lar production. As verb, to num- 
bug, spoil, mar. As intj., nonsense 1 
Rubbish ! It's all my eye ! 

Bosh Faker. A violin player. 

Boshing. A flogging, bashing. 

Boshy. Trumpery, nonsensical. 

Bos-ken. A farmhouse : an old 
canting term. 

Boskiness. The quality of being 
fuddled with drink (or bemused), a 
state of drunkenness. 

Bosky. Drunk, tipsy, fuddled : 
see Screwed (1748). 

Bosnian. A farmer. 

Bosom-bird. An intimate friend. 

Bosom-mischief. The root 
of offending. 

Bosom-piece. A bosom friend : 
especially of a woman. 

Bosom -sermon. One learnt by 

Bosom-slave. A mistress. 

Boss. 1. A master, head man, 
one who directs : from the Dutch boat, 
a master. 2. A short-sighted person ; 
also one who squints : also Bosser : cf. 
Boss-eyed. 3. A miss, blunder. As 
adj., pleasant, first rate, chief. As 
verb, (1 ) to manage, direct, control ; (2) 
to miss one's aim, make such a shot as 
a boss-eyed (q.v.) person would be ex- 
pected to make. Boss-shot, a shot that 
fails of its mark. 

Bossers. Spectacles. 

Boss-eyed. Said of a person with 
one eye (or rather with one eye in- 
jured), a person with obliquity of 
vision, squinny-eyed (q.v.), swivel- 
eyed (q.v.). 

Bostruchyzer (Oxford University). 
A small kind of comb for curling 
the whiskers (H often). 

Bot, Bott, Botts. The colic, 
belly-ache, gripes (1787). 

Botanical Excursion. Transporta- 
tion : the allusion is to Botany Bay ( q. v. ) 

Botany Bay (University), 
1. At Oxford, Worcester College : on 

Botany Bay Fever. 


account of its remote situation as re- 
gards other collegiate buildings. 2. 
A certain portion of Trinity College, 
Dublin : for a similar reason. 3. 
Penal servitude : formerly convicts 
[1787-1867] were transported to Bot- 
any Bay, a convict settlement at the 
Antipodes. Hence to go to Botany 
Bay, to get a long term of imprison- 

Botany Bay Fever. Trans- 
portation, penal servitude. 

Botch. A tailor. 

Bottle. To turn out no bottle, 
not to turn out well, to fail. To pass 
the bottle of smoke, to countenance a 
conventional tie, to cant. To look for a 
needle in a bottle of hay, to engage in a 
hopeless search : also, needle in a hay- 
stack. To bottle up, to restrain temper 
(or) feelings, to hold (or keep) back 

Bottle - ache. Drunkenness : see 
Gallon distemper. 

Bottle - arsed. Type thicker at 
one end than the other a result of 
wear and tear. 

Bottle-head. A fool : see Buffle. 

Bottle-holder. 1. A second at 
a prize-fight. 2. One who gives moral 
support, backer, adviser : in the Times 
of 1851, Lord Palmerston was reported 
to consider himself the bottle-holder of 
oppressed states : and in Punch of the 
same year, a cartoon appeared repre- 
senting that statesman as the judi- 
cious bottle-holder (1753). 

Bottle - holding. Backing, sup- 

Bottle of Brandy in a Glass. 
A long drink, of beer. 

Bo ttle of Spruce. Twopence, 
deuce (q.v.). 

Bottles. Barrett's Brewery and 
Bottling Co. Shares. 

Bottle - sucker. An able - bodied 
seaman, the abbreviation is A.B.S. 

Bottom. 1. The posteriors : 
not now in polite or literary use (1794). 
2. Capital, resources, stamina, grit 
(1662). 3. Spirit placed in a glass prior 
to the addition of water. To knock the 
bottom out of one, to overcome, defeat. 
To stand on one's own bottom, to act 
for oneself, to be independent. 

Bottom Dollar. The last dollar. 
To bet one's bottom dollar, to risk all. 

Bottom Facts. The exact 
truth about any matter. To get to the 
bottom facts concerning a subject, to 

arrive at an unquestionable conclusion 
concerning it, to get to the root of the 
question : also Bottom-rock. 

B o 1 1 y. An infant's posteriors, 
Fr., tu tu. As adj., conceited, swag- 
gering: Fr., faire sa merde, faire son 

Bough. The gallows : see Tree 

Boughs. Up in the boughs, in a 
passion (Grose). 

Bounce. 1. Brag, swagger, boast- 
ful falsehood, exaggeration (1714). 
2. Impudence, cheek, brass (q.v.). 3. 
A boaster, swaggerer, showy swindler, 
bully (1812). As verb, (1) to boast, 
bluster, hector, bully, blow up (1633) ; 
(2) to lie, to cheat, swindle ( 1762). On 
the bounce, in a state of spasmodic 
movement, general liveliness. To get 
the grand bounce, to be dismissed: spec. 
in reference to government appoint- 

Bounceable. Prone to bounc- 
ing or boasting, uppish, bump- 
tious (1830). 

Bouncer. 1. A bully, hector, 
blusterer, one who talks swagger- 
ingly (1748). 2. A thief who steals 
goods from shop counters while bar- 
gaining with the tradesman: Fr., 
degringoleur, and (the practice itself) 
degringoler h la carre. 3. A lie, a 
liar (1762). 4. Anything large of its 
kind, whopper, thumper, corker 
(1596). 5. Chucker-out (q.v.). 6. A 
prostitute's bully. 7. A gun that 
kicks when fired. 

Bouncing. Vigorous, lusty, ex- 
aggerated, excessive, big (1563). 

Bouncing Cheat. A bottle. 

Bounder. 1. A four-wheeled 
cab, growler (q.v.). 2. A student 
whose manners are not acceptable, 
one whose companionship is not cared 
for. 3. A dog - cart. 4. A vulgar, 
though well-dressed man, a superior 
kind of 'Arry, one whose dress and 
personal appearance are correct, but 
whose manners are of a questionable 
character. The term is very often 
used in connection with bally (q.v.). 

Boung. See Bung. 

Boung Nipper. See Bung-nipper. 

Bounty-jumper. A man who, 
receiving a bounty when enlisting, 
deserts, re-enlists, and receives a 
second bounty. The War of the 
Rebellion is responsible for this, as 
for many other colloquialisms ; as 


Bounty -jumping. 


the conflict lengthened out, men be- 
came in great request, and large 
bounties were offered by the North 
for volunteers. This bounty was 
found to be a direct incitement to bad 
faith and unfair dealing. Men would 
enlist, receive their bounty, join their 
regiment, and then decamp, to re- 
appear in another State, to go through 
the same performance, in some cases 
many times over. 

Bounty- jumping. Obtaining a 
bounty by enlisting and then deserting. 

Bourbon. 1. In American 
politics a Democrat of the straitest 
sect ; a fire-eater : applied, for the 
most part, to the Southern Democrats 
of the old school uncompromising 
adherents of political tradition be- 
hind the age, and unteachable. 2. 
A superior kind of whisky : originally 
that manufactured in Bourbon, Ken- 

Bouse, Bowse, Booze. 1. Drink 
or liquor of any kind (1667). 2. A 
drinking bout, carouse. As verb, to 
drink to excess, tipple, swill : both 
this and the substantive seem to have 
been known as early as 1300, but 
neither came into general use until the 
sixteenth century, from which period 
both forms have become more and 
more colloquial : see Lush. Hence, 
bouser, a toper ; bousing, hard drink- 
ing ; and bousy, intoxicated or 
screwed. To bouse the jib, to tipple, 
drink heavily : a different word from 
bouse, to haul with tackle, i.e. to make 
oneself tight : see Screwed. 

Bousing Ken. A tavern, inn, 
drinking den : now applied to a low 
public house : see Lush crib (1567). 

Bouzy. See Boozy. 

Bow. Two (or many) strings to 
one's bow, an alternative, more re- 
sources than one (1562). To draw 
the long bow, to exaggerate, gas, 
talk up (1819). To draw the bow 
up to the ear, to do a thing with alac- 
rity, put on full steam, exert oneself 
to the utmost. The bent of one's bow, 
one's intention, inclination, disposi- 
tion. To shoot in another's bow, to 
undertake another's work, practise an 
art or profession other than one's own. 
By the string rather than the bow, in a 
direct fashion, by the straightest way 
to an end. To bend (or bring) to one's 
bow, to control, compel to one's will 
or inclination. To come to one's bow, 

\ 66 

to be complaisant, become com- 

B o w-c a t c h e r. A kiss-curl : see 
Aggerawator : a corruption of beau- 

Bowdlerize. To expurgate by 
removing words or phrases considered 
offensive or questionable from a book 
or writing : from Dr. T. Bowdler's 
method in editing an edition of Shakes- 
peare, in which, to use his own words, 
Those . . . expressions are omitted 
which cannot with propriety be read 
aloud in a family (1836). 

Bower. A prison : see Cage. 

Bowery Boy, Bowery Girl. The 
'Any and 'Arriet of New York of some 
years ago : the Bowery was the farm of 
Governor Stuyvesant 

Bowlas. Round tarts made of 
sugar, apple, and bread (May hew). 

Bowled. Croppled(q.v.). 

Bowler. See Boler. 

Bowles. Shoes : see Trotter- 

Bowl Out To overcome, get the 
better of, defeat (1812). 

Bowl - the - hoop, subs, (rhyming 
slang). Soup. 

Bowman. All's Bowman, All's 

Bowse. See Booze. 

Bowsing Ken. See Bousing ken. 

Bowsprit. The nose. To have 
one's bowsprit in parenthesis, to have it 
pulled : cf. To have one's head in 

Bow- window. A big belly, cor- 
poration (q.v.). Bow-windowed, big- 
bellied (1840). 

Bow-wow. 1. A childish name for 
a dog (1800). 2. A Bostonian : 
in contempt. 3. A cavalier, lover, spec. 
a petticoat-dangler : cf. Tame-cat. 

Bow-wow Mutton. Dog's flesh. 

Bow- wow- word. A term applied 
sarcastically by Max Mullerto words 
claimed as imitations of natural sounds. 

B o w y e r. One who draws a 
long bow, a dealer in the marvellous, 
a teller of improbable stories, a liar. 

Box. A prison cell. As verb 
(Westminster School), to take posses- 
sion of, bag. To be in a box, to be 
cornered, in a fix, stuck (or hung) 
up. To be in the wrong box, to be out 
of one's element, in a false position, 
mistaken (1555). On the box, a man 
when on strike and in receipt of strike 
pay is said to be on the box. To box 

Box Hat. 


Harry (1) to take dinner and tea 
together ; (2) to dine out, i.e. to do 
without a meal at all. To box the 
compass, to repeat in succession, or 
irregularly, the thirty-two points of 
the compass ; beginners, on accom- 
plishing this feat, are said to be able 
to box the compass (1731). 

Box Hat. A silk hat : see Cady. 

Box-irons. Shoes : see Trotter- 
cases (1789). 

Box of Dominoes. The mouth. 
[From box + dominoes (q.v.), a slang 
term for the teeth.] For synonyms, 
see Potato-trap. 

Boy. 1. Champagne, fiz, Cham 
(q.v.) : Fr., champ. [A story, ben 
trovato, is told by the Sporting Times 
of June 30, 1882, as regards the origin 
of the phrase : At a shooting party 
in Norfolk once, a youth was told off 
to supply the company with cham- 
pagne. The day being hot and the 
sportsmen thirsty, cries of Boy I 
Boy ! Boy ! were heard all day long. 
This tickling the fancy of the royal and 
noble party, the term boy became 
applied to champagne.] 2. A hump 
on a man's back: itis common to speak 
of a humpbacked man as two persons 
him and his boy. 3. (Anglo- 
Indian and colonial). A servant of 
whatever age. Old boy (1) a familiar 
term of address : spec, a father, the 
guv' nor, the boss; (2) The devil. Yellow 
boy, a guinea ; also, one pound sterling : 
see Rhino. Angry (or roaring boys), 
a set of young bucks, bloods, or blades 
(q.v.), of noisy manners and fire- 
eating tastes : Nares says, like the 
Mohawks (q.v.) described by the 
Spectator, they delighted to commit 
outrages and get into quarrels ; early 
mention is made of such characters ; 
Wilson, in his Life of James I. (1653), 
gives an account of their origin : 
The king minding his sports, many 
riotous demeanours crept into the 
kingdom ; divers sects of vicious 
persons, going under the title of roar- 
ing boys, bravadoes, roysterers, etc., 
commit many insolencies ; the streets 
swarm, night and day, with bloody 
quarrels, private duels fomented, etc. 
(1599). Boys of the holy ground, for- 
merly [1800-25] bands of roughs in- 
festing a well - known region in St. 
Giles : see Holy-land. 

Boycott. To combine in refusing 
to hold relations of any kind, social or 

commercial, public or private, with a 
person, on account of political or other 
differences, so as to punish or coerce 
him. The word arose in the autumn 
of 1880 Capt. Boycott, an Irish land- 
lord, was the original victim to de- 
scribe the action instituted by the Irish 
LandLeague toward those who incurred 
its hostility. It was speedily adopted 
into every European language (0. E.D.) 

Brace. To get credit by swagger. 
To brace it through, to succeed by dint 
of sheer impudence. 

Bracelets. Handcuffs ; fetters 
for the wrist: Fr., alliances (properly 
wedding rings), also tartouve and 
lacets : see Darbies (1661). 

Brace of Shakes. A moment, 
jiffy, twinkling of an eye, etc. : 
see Shakes. 

Brace Up. 1. To pawn stolen goods 
to their utmost value. 2. To take a 

Bracket- faced. Ugly, hard- 
featured (Grose). 

Bracket-mug. An ugly face. 

Brads. Generic for money : see 
Rhino (1812). To tip the brads, to 
pay, shell out. 

Brag. A usurer, Jew. 

Braggadocia. Three months' im- 
prisonment as a reputed thief. 

Brain. Cuteness, cleverness, nous 
(q.v.). Hence brainy, smart, clever, 
up-to-date. Phrases : To beat (break, 
busy, cudgel, drag, or puzzle) one's 
brains, to exert oneself to thought or 
contrivance. To crack one's brains, 
to become crazy. On the brain, crazy 
about (a matter). To turn one's 
brain, to bewilder, flummox. A dry 
brain, silly, stupid, barren brain. A 
hot brain an inventive fancy. Boiled 
brains, a hot-headed person. To bear 
a brain, to be cautious. To suck (or 
pick) a person's brains, to get and ap- 
propriate information. Of the same 
brain, identical in conception or 

Brain-pan (or Box.) 1. The skull, 
or skull-cap : also Brain-canister ; the 
Scotch equivalent is Hani pan 2, 
The head (1520). 

A cunning devio . 
A wriggling dis- 

Brain- trick. 

Brain - worm, 
putant (1645). 

Brain - brat, 
fancy (1630), 

bee (1851). 

A creature of the 
A craze, crotchet, 




Brain - worm. A wriggling dis- 
putant (1643). 

Bramble. A lawyer ; a tangle of 
the law. 

Bramble-gel der. An agricul- 
turist : a Suffolk term. 

Bran. A loaf. 

Branded Ticket A discharge given 
to an infamous man, on which his 
character is given, and the reason he 
is turned out of the service (Smyth). 

Brandy. Brandy is Latin for goose 
(or for fish), this punning vulgarism 
appears first in Swift's Polite Conversa- 
tion ; the pun is on the word answer. 
Anscr is the Latin for goose, which 
brandy follows as surely and quickly 
as an answer follows a question. 

Brandy Face. A tippler, drunkard : 
spec, one whose favourite drink is 
brandy: see Lushington (1687). 

Brandy-faced. Red-faced, bloated. 

Brandy Pawnee. Brandy and 
water (1816). 

Brandy Smash. An American 
drink of brandy and crushed ice. 

Bran-mash. Bread sopped in coffee 
or tea. 

Brass. 1. Impudence, effrontery, 
unblushing hardness, shamelessness, 
etc. (1594). 2. Generic for money: 
see Rhino (1526). 

Brass- basin. A barber, surgeon- 
barber (1599). 

Brass-face. An impudent person. 

Brass-bound and Copper Fast- 
ened. Said of a lad dressed in a 
midshipman's uniform (W. Clark 

Brass-bounder. A midshipman. 

Brasser (Christ's Hospital). A 

Brass Farthing (or Farde). The 
lowest limit of value (1642). 

Brass Knocker. Broken victuals, 
the remains of a meal : specially ap- 
plied by beggars to the scraps often 
bestowed upon them in place of money. 

Brass-plate Merchant A dealer 
who merely procures orders for coal, 
gets some merchant who buys in the 
market to execute them in his name, 
and manages to make a living by the 
profits of these transactions (May hew). 

Brassy. Impudent, impertinent, 
shameless (1570). 

Brat 1. A child : almost invari- 
ably in contempt (1505). 2. A rag, 
shabby clothes, or other articles that 
arc mere rags. 

Brattery. A nursery ( 1 788). 

Bratful. An apronful. 

Brazen-faced. Shameless, impud- 
ent, unblushing, with a face as of brass, 
or as if rubbed with a brass candlestick 

Bread. Employment Out of 
bread, out of work. Phrases : To know 
on which side one's bread is buttered, 
to recognise one's interests. To 
take the oread out of one's mouth, to 
deprive of the means of livelihood. 
Bread buttered on both sides, the height 
of good fortune, the best of luck. No 
bread and butter of mine, no concern 
(or business) of mine (1764). 

Bread-artist One working merely 
to gain a living : cf. Potboiler. 

Bread and Butter Warehouse, 
phr. (old). Ranelagh Gardens. 

Bread-and-cheese. Plain living, 
needful food. 

Bread and Meat The commis- 

Bread Bags. A nickname given 
in the army and navy to any one con- 
nected with the victualling depart- 
ment, as a purser or purveyor in the 
commissariat : at one time called 
muckers : Fr., riz-pain-sel. 

Bread-barge. The distributing 
basket or tray containing the rations 
of biscuits. 

Bread-basket The stomach. Eng- 
lish synonyms: bread-room, dumpling- 
depot, victualling-office, porridge- bowl 

Bread-picker (Winchester Col- 
lege). The four senior prefects used 
to appoint juniors to this office, 
which was nominal, but which carried 
with it exemption from fagging at 
meal times. No notion book states 
in what the office consisted, but it is 
supposed that it relates to times when 
juniors had to secure the bread, etc., 
served out for their masters. 

Bread-room. The stomach, bread- 
basket (1760) (q.v.). 

Bread -room Jack. A purser's 

Break. 1. A collection (of money) 
usually got up by a prisoner's friends, 
either to defray the expenses of his de- 
fence, or as a lift when leaving prison. 
2. Formerly and more generally ap- 
plied to a pause in street performances 
to enable the hat to be passed round : 
cf. Lead. Tn l>rmk one's barl\ tobecome 
bankrupt (1601). To break one's egg: 



see Crack one's egg. Tobreak out all over 
(or in a fresh spot), expressions in com- 
mon use in the one case conveying 
an idea of completeness ; and, in the 
other, of commencing some new under- 
taking, or assuming a different posi- 
tion whether in an argument or action. 
To break shins, to borrow money. 
To break the balls, to commence play- 
ing. To break the molasses jug, to come 
to grief, to make a mistake. To break 
the neck or back of anything, to ac- 
complish the major portion of a task, 
be near the end of an undertaking, be 
past the middle of same. To break a 
straw with, to fall out with. To break 
a lance with, to enter into competition 
with. To break Priscian's head, to 
violate the laws of grammar. To 
break the neck of a thing (or matter), to 
get through the serious part of it. 
To break the ice, to commence, prepare 
the way. To break no squares, to do 
no harm. 

Break-down. 1. A measure of liquor. 
2. A noisy dance, a convivial gather- 
ing : the term was, at first, specially 
applied to a negro dance, but is now 
in general use in England in a humor- 
ous sense. To break down, to dance 
riotously, be boisterous, spreeish. 

Break-o'-day Drum. A drinking 
saloon which keeps its doors open aU 

Breaky-leg. 1. Intoxicating 
drink ; see Drinks. 2. A shilling. 

Breast Fleet. Roman Catholics ; 
from their practice of crossing them- 
selves on the breast as an act of devo- 
tion (Grose). 

Breath. Change your breath, an 
injunction to adopt a different manner 
or bearing. An offensive, slang ex- 
pression which, originating in Cali- 
fornia, quickly ran its course through 
the Union. 

Breath-bubble. An empty thing, 
trifle (1835). 

Breath-seller. LA perfumer 
(1601). 2. A paid speaker. 

Breech. To flog : formerly in 
literary use, but now fallen into des- 
uetude (1557). 

Breeched. Well off, with plenty of 
money ; well breeched, in good circum- 
stances: cf. Ballasted. Fr., deculotte 
(= bankrupt, i.e. unbreeched). 

Breeches. Ironically applied to the 
Commonwealth coinage ; suggested 
by the arrangement of two shields 

on the reverse side of the coin. To 
wear the breeches, to usurp a husband's 
prerogative, be master (1450) : cf. 
the grey mare is the better horse of 
the two. 

Breeching. A flogging (q.v.), 
formerly in general use (1520). 

Breef. See Brief. 

Breeze. A row, quarrel, disturb- 
ance, coolness (Grose). 

Brekker. Breakfast. 

Brevet Hell. A battle : the term 
originated during the American Civil 

Brevet-wife. A woman who takes 
a man's name, and enjoys all the 
privileges of a wife. 

Brew (Marlborough School). To 
make afternoon tea. 

Brewer's Horse. A drunkard: see 

Brian o' Linn. GUI : see Drinks. 

Briar, Brier. A brier-wood pipe. 

Brick. A good fellow ; one whose 
staunchness and loyalty commend him 
to his fellows : said to be of University 
origin, the simile being drawn from 
the classics (1835). As verb, to pun- 
ish a man by bringing the knees close 
up to the chin, and lashing the arms 
tightly to the knees a species of 
trussing. Like a brick (like bricks, or 
like a thousand of bricks), with energy, 
alacrity, thoroughly, vehemently and 
with much display. Brick in the hat, 
top - heavy, inability to preserve a 
steady gait: of drunken men. 

Brick- duster. See Brick-fielder. 

Brickdusts. The Fifty-third 
Regiment of Foot, now The King's 
(Shropshire Light Infantry), from its 

Brickfielder (or Brickduster). In 
Sydney the name given to a dust or 
sand storm brought by southerly 
winds from sand hills locally known 
as the Brickfields hence the name : 
also the Buster or Southerly Burster. 

Bricklayer. A clergyman. 

Bricklayer's Clerk. A lubberly 

Bricks (Wellington College). A 
sort of pudding. 

BrickWall. To run one's head 
against a brick wall, to pursue a course 
obstinately to certain disaster, ruin, 
or death. 

Bridge. A cheating trick at 
cards, by which any particular card 
is cut by previously curving it by the 



Broiled Crow. 

pressure of tho hand : Fr.,le pont gee. 
To throw a person over the bridge, to 
deceive him by betraying the con- 
fidence he has reposed in you. Betide 
the bridge, off the track, astray. A 
gold (or silver) bridge, an easy way of 

Bridle-cull. A highwayman (1754). 

Bridport (or Brydport) Dagger. 
The hangman's rope. To be stabbed 
with a Bridport dagger, to be hanged 

Brief. 1. A ticket of any kind 
railway pass, pawnbroker's duplicate, 
raffle ticket 2. A pocket book. Hence 
briefless, ticketless. 

Briefs (or Breefs). Prepared cards 
( 1 529 ). [Take a pack of cards and open 
them, then take out all the honours 
. . . and cut a little from the edges of 
the rest all alike, so as to make the 
honours broader than the rest, so that 
when your adversary cuts to you, you 
are certain of an honour. When you 
cut to your adversary cut at the ends, 
and then it is a chance if you cut him 
an honour, because the cards at the 
ends are all of a length. Thus you 
may make breefs end-ways as well as 
side-ways] (Hotten). 

Brief -snatcher. A pocket-book 
thief (q.v.). 

Brier (or Briar). In pi. difficulty, 
trouble, vexation. In the briars, in 
trouble (1509). 

Brigh. A pocket, cly, skyrocket. 

Bright Bright in the eye, tipsy : 
see Screwed. 

Brighton Tipper. A particular 
brew of ale. 

Brim. A prostitute : i.e. Brim- 
stone (q.v.) (1730). 2. An angry, 
violent woman, or a termagant, with- 
out reference to moral character. 

Brimstone. 1. A violent tempered 
woman, virago, spitfire (1712). 2. A 

Briney (or Briny). The sea ( 1856). 
English synonyms, herring pond, big 
pond, big drink, the puddle, Davy's 

Bring. To bring down the house, 
to elicit loud applause ; and, figur- 
atively, to be successful (1754). 

Brisket- beater. A Roman Catholic: 
cf. Breast-fleet, and Craw-thumper 

Bristle. To set up one's bristles, 
to show temper. 

Bristle Dice or Bristles, subs. 

A method of cogging dice by inserting 
bristles into them, and thus influencing 
the position of the cubes when thrown 

Bristol Milk. Sherry : formerly 
a large import of the city of Bristol : 
see Drinks (1644). 

Broach. To broach claret, to 
draw blood. 

Broad. Knowing, cute, smart : 
cf. Wide. Phrases : In the broad or the 
long, in one way or another. It's as 
broad as it's long, there's no difference, 
there's not a pin to choose between 

Broad and Shallow. An 
epithet applied to the Broad Church 
party, in contradistinction to the 
High and Low Churches : see High 
and dry. 

Broadbottoms. A nickname of 
two Coalition Governments, one in the 
last century [1741], and the- other in 

Broadbrim. A Quaker : the origin 
of this expression is to be found in the 
hat once peculiar to the Society of 
Friends (1712). 

Broad - cooper. A person em- 
ployed by brewers to negotiate with 

Broad Cove. A card - sharper : 
FT., bremeur (1821). 

Broad-faking. Playing at 
cards : spec, work of the three card 
and kindred descriptions. 

Broad-fencer. A k'rect card vendor. 

Broads. Playing cards ( 1 789). 

Broadsman. A card-sharper. 

Broady 1. Cloth: a corruption 
of broadcloth (1851). 2. Anything 
worth stealing. 

Broady Worker. A man who goes 
round selling shoddy stuff under the 
pretence that it is excellent material, 
which has been got on the cross, i.e. 

Brock (Winchester College). To 
bully, tease, badger. 

Brockster (Winchester College). A 

Brogues (Christ's Hospital). 
Breeches : in reality an obsolete old 
English term which has survived 
among the Blues. 

Broiled (or Boiled) Crow. To eat 
boiled crow, a newspaper editor, who is 
obliged by his party, or other outside 
influences, to advocate principles dif- 
ferent from those which he supported 




a short time before, is said to eat 
boiled crow. 

Broke. Dead broke (or stone 
broke), ruined, decayed, hard up of 
health or pecuniary circumstances : 
Fr., pas un radis. 

Broken Feather in One's Wing. 
A blot on one's character. 

Broken-kneed (or legged). 

Brolly. An umbrella : first used 
at Winchester and subsequently 
adopted at both Oxford and Cam- 
bridge Universities. 

Broncho. Unruly, wild, savage : 
from the name of the native horse of 
California, a somewhat tricky and un- 
certain quadruped ; familiarly applied 
to horses that buck and show other 
signs of vice : the Spanish signification 
of the word is rough and crabbed little 
beast, and in truth he deserves this 

Broncho-buster. A breaker-in of 
bronchos, a flash-rider. 

Bronze John. A Texas name for 
yellow fever ; commonly called Yel- 
low Jack (q.v.). 

Broom, subs. (old). A warrant 
(1815). As verb, to runaway: see Bunk. 

Broomstick. A sort of rough 
cricket bat, very narrow in the blade : 
all of one piece of wood. To jump 
the broomstick (hop the broom, jump 
the besom), to go through a quasi 
marriage ceremony by jumping over 
a broomstick (1774). 

Broomsticks. Worthless bail, 
straw-bail (1812). 

Brosier (or Brozier) (Eton Col- 
lege). A boy when he had spent all 
his pocket money : brozier is Cheshire 
for bankrupt. Broziered, cleaned out, 
done up, mined, bankrupt (1796). 
Brozier-my-dame (Eton College), eat- 
ing one out of house and home : when 
a dame (q.v.) keeps an unusually bad 
table, the boys agree together on a 
day to eat, pocket, or waste every- 
thing eatable in the house. The 
censure is well understood, and the 
hint is generally effective (1850). 

Broth. Breath. To make white 
broth of, to boil to death. A broth of 
a boy, a downright good fellow. 

Brother - blade. A soldier : see 
Mudcrusher (Grose). 

Brother Chip. One of the same 
calling or trade : formerly a fellow- 
carpenter (1820). 

Brother of the Brush. An artist, a 
house- painter (1687). 

Brother of the Bung. A brewer ; 
one of the same trade. 

Brother of the Buskin. A player, 
actor one of the same profession. 

Brother of the Coif. A serjeant- 
at-law : the coif was a close-fitting cap 
worn by the serjeants-at-law (Grose). 

Brother of the Quill. An author 

Brother of the String. A fiddler. 

Brother of the Whip. A coachman 

Brother - smut A term of famili- 
arity : e.g. Ditto, brother or sister 
smut, tu quoque. 

Brpughtonian. A bruiser, boxer, 
pugilist : from Broughton, once the 
best boxer of his day. 

Brown. 1. A halfpenny : see 
Rhino (1812). 2. Porter: an ab- 
breviation of Brown Stout. As verb, 

(1) to do brown, to get the better of ; 

(2) to understand, comprehend. To 
do broum, to do well, take in, deceive, 
exceed bounds (1600). 

Brown Bess. 1. Yes. 2. The old 
regulation musket. 3. A prostitute 
(1631). To hug broum Bess, to serve 
as a private soldier. 

Brown George. 1. A wig, of the 
colour of over- baked ginger-bread : 
modish during the latter half of the 
last century. 2. A jug : generally of 
brown earthenware : cf. Black-jack. 
3. A coarse brown loaf, or hard biscuit 

Brownie. The polar bear. 

Brown Janet. A knapsack. 

B r o w n J o e. No : cf. Brown 
Bess, Yes. 

Brown - paperman. A gambler 
in pence. 

Brown-paper warrant. A warrant 
given by a captain : this he can cancel 

Brown Stone. Beer : see Drinks. 

Brown-study. Mental abstraction, 
musing, thoughtful absentminded- 
ness, idle reverie. 

Brown Talk. Conversation of 
an exceedingly proper character : cf. 

Browse. To idle, loll, take 
things easy. A browse morning, one 
in which there is little work. 

Bruise. To fight, box gen- 
erally with the idea of mauling. To 
bruise along, to pound along. 




Bruiser. 1. A prize-fighter, 
boxer ( 1 744). 2. A prostitute's bully. 
S. One fond of fighting. 4. Generic for 
a rowdy or buDy : sometimes, how- 
ever, limited in its application to a 
particular band of ruffians, as once 
in Baltimore. 

Bruising. Prize - fighting, boxing 

B r u m. 1. A counterfeit com : 
contracted form of Brummagem (q.v.), 
spec, counterfeit groats (about 1691). 

2. Anything counterfeit, not genuine. 

3. Copper money struck by Boulton 
and Watt at their works at Soho, 
Birmingham (1787). 4. An inhabit- 
ant of Birmingham. As adj. (Win- 
chester College), mean, poor, stingy : 
the superlative is dead brum. 

Brumby. A wild horse : the Anti- 
podean counterpart of the American 

Brummagem. 1. Birmingham. 2. 
Base money of various denominations 
especially groats in 17th century 
hence anything spurious or unreal 
(1691). As adj., counterfeit, unreal, 
sham, showy, pretentious (1637). 

Brummagem Buttons. Counter- 
feit coin (1836). 

Brummish. Doubtful, counterfeit 

B r u m s. London and North 
Western Stock : formerly the London 
and Birmingham Railway. 

Brush. 1. See Brother of the 
Brush. 2. A hasty departure (1750). 
3. A person who decamps hastily, or 
who evades his creditors (1748). As 
verb, (1) to flog, thrash : e.g. to brush 
one's jacket: cf. Dust; (2) to run away, 
decamp : also to brush off (1696). 

Brusher. 1. A full glass. 2. One 
that gets or steals away privately 
(Dyche). 3. A schoolmaster. As 
verb, to humbug by flattery. To 
brush tip a flat, to use mealy-mouthed 
words, lay it on thick, soft soap (q.v.). 

Brute. A man who has not yet 
matriculated : the play is evident A 
man, in college phrase, is a collegian ; 
and as matriculation is the sign and 
seal of acceptance, a scholar before 
that ceremony is not a man, only a 
biped brute. 

Brydport Dagger. See Bridport 

. T. I. An abbreviation of A big 
thing on ice : cf. P.D.Q., O.K., N.G., 

Bub. 1. Strong drink of any 
kind : usually applied to malt liquor. 
To take bub and grub, to eat and drink 
(1671). 2. A woman's breast: gen- 
erally in plural bubbles (q.v.). 3. 
A brother. 4. A term of affection 
applied to a little boy : also a familiar 
address. 5. An abbreviated form of 
bubble (q.v.). As verb, (1) to drink 
(1671) ; (2) to bribe, cheat: cf. Bub- 
ble (1719). 

Bubber. 1. A hard drinker, con- 
firmed tippler: see Lushington: FT., 
bibassier (1653). 2. A drinking bowl 
( 1696). 3. A public-house thief (1 785). 
4. An old woman with large pendulous 

Bubbies. A woman's breasts 

B u b b i n g. Drinking, tippling 

Bubble. A dupe, gull, caravan 
(q.v.); and rook (q.v.) (1598). As 
verb, to cheat, humbug, delude aa 
with bubbles, to overreach (1664). 

Bubbleable. That can be duped, 
gullible (1669). 

Bubble and Squeak. Cold meat 
fried up with potatoes and greens 

Bubble-buff. A bailiff. 

Bubble Company. A swindling 
association, enterprise, or project : 
the South Sea Bubble will occur to 
mind (1754). 

Bubbled. Gulled, deceived, be- 
fooled (1683). 

Bubbling-squeak. Hot soup. 

Bubbly Jock. 1. A turkey cock, 
gobbler (Grose). 2. A stupid boaster. 
3. A pert, conceited, pragmatical 
fellow ; a prig ; a cad. 

Bubby. See Bub and Bubbies. 

Bucco. A dandy, buck (q.v.). 

Buck, 1. In the first instance a 
man of spirit or gaiety of conduct ; 
later a fop, a dandy (1725). 2. An 
unlicensed cabdriver : also a sham fare 
(1851). 3. A sixpence : thought to be 
a corruption of fyebuck (q.v.) : rarely 
used by itself, but denotes the sixpence 
attached to shillings in reference to 
cost, aa, three and a buck, three shil- 
lings and sixpence : see Rhino. 4. 
A large marble. 5. A term used in 
poker. As adj., at Princeton College 
anything which is of an intensive 
degree, good, excellent, pleasant or 
agreeable, is called buck. As verb, 
(1) to oppose, run counter to ; (2) Ap- 


Buck Bait. 


plied to horses this term describes the 
action of plunging forward and throw- 
ing the head to the ground in an 
effort to unseat the rider. (3) To cook 
(q.v.) : of accounts. (4) To play 
against the bank, usually, to buck the 
tiger. (5) To put forth one's whole 
energy. To run a buck, to poll a bad 
vote at an election (Orose). To buck 
(or fight) the tiger, to gamble. To 
buck down (Winchester College), to be 
sorry, unhappy. To be bucked, to be 
tired. To buck up (Winchester Col- 
lege), to be glad, pleased : the usual 
expression is Oh, buck up, a phrase 
which at Westminster School would 
have a very different meaning, namely 
exert yourself ; at Uppingham to be 
bucked (q.v.) is to be tired. 

Buck Bait. Bail given by a con- 

Buckeen. 1. A bully (Orose). 2. A 
younger son of the poorer aristocracy. 

Bucket. An anonymous letter. 
As verb, (1) to ride hard, not to spare 
one's beast ; (2) to cheat, ruin, deceive 
(1812) ; (3) to take the water unfairly 
with a scoop at the beginning of the 
stroke instead of a steady even pull 
throughout. To give the bucket, to 
dismiss from one's employment, send 
a person about his business : see Bag 
and Sack. To kick the bucket, to die : 
the bucket here is thought to refer to a 
Norfolk term for a pulley ; when pigs 
are killed they are hung by their hind 
legs on a bucket (Grose). 

Bucket-afloat. A coat. 

Bucket Shop. 1. A stock gambling 
den carried on in opposition to regular 
exchange business, and usually of a 
more than doubtful character. 2. A 
low groggery, lottery office, gambling 
den, etc. 

Buckeye. A native of Ohio. 
Buck-eye State, Ohio. 

Buck Face. A cuckold. 

Buck Fitch. An old rou6. 

Buckhara. A cattle-driver, cow- 

Buckhorse. A smart blow, box 
on the ear : from the name of a cele- 
brated bruiser of that name ; Buck- 
horse was a man who either possessed 
or professed insensibility to pain, and 
who would for a small sum allow any- 
one to strike him with the utmost force 
on the side of the face ; his real name 
was John Smith, and he fought in 
public 1732-46. 

Buckish. Foppish, dandyish 

Buck - jump. A jump made in 
buck (q.v.) fashion. 

Buckle. 1. To marry (1693). 
2. To buckle to, to undertake, grapple 
with, slip in, work vigorously (1557). 
To buckle down, to settle down, be- 
come reconciled to, knuckle down 

Buckle-beggar. A Fleet parson; 
also one who celebrated irregular 
marriages, a hedge priest, one who 
undertook similar offices for gipsies 
and tramps (1700). 

Buckle- bosom. A catchpoll, con- 

Buckled. Arrested, scragged. 

Buckler. A collar. 

Bucklers. Fetters. See Darbies. 

Buckram. Men in buckram, non- 
existent persons : in allusion to Fal- 
staff's four men in buckram. 

Bucksome (Winchester College). 
Happy, in a state of buck-uppishness : 
see Buck-up. 

Bud. An endearment : of children 
or young persons. 

Budge. 1. A pick -pocket (1671). 

2. An accomplice who gains access to a 
building during the day for the pur- 
pose of being locked in, so that he can, 
when night comes, admit his fellow 
thieves: also sneaking - budge (1752). 

3. Drink, liquor : see Drinks. Budgy, 
drunk. Budging-ken, a public house. 
Cove of the budging-ken, a publican. 
Budger, a drunkard (1821). As verb, 
to move, to make tracks. 

B u d g e - a - beake. To run away 
(presumably from justice) : cf. to bilk 
the blues (q.v.) (1610). 

Budger. A drunkard: see Lush- 

Budget. To open one's budget, to 
speak one's mind. 

Budging - ken. A public house : 
see Lush-crib (1821). 

Budgy. Drunk, intoxicated: see 

Bud of Promise. A young un- 
married woman : see Rosebud and 

Buenos Ayres. The Royal Crescent 
at Margate at the extreme end of the 
town used to be so called : the houses 
remained unfinished for a very con- 
siderable time (H. J. Byron). 

Bufe. A dog: from the sound of 
its bark (1567). 




Bufe - nabber (or napper). A dog 
thief (q.v.) (Grose). 

Buff. 1. The bare skin (1054). 
2. A man, fellow: also Buffer (q.v.) 
(1708). 3. Foolish talk (1721). To 
buff it, (1) to swear to, adhere to a 
statement hard and fast, stand firm : 
also to buff it home (1812) ; (2) to strip, 
bare oneself to the buff or skin (1581). 
In buff, naked, in a state of nudity 
(1602). To stand buff, to stand the 
brunt, pay the piper, endure without 
flinching (1680). To say neither buff 
nor baff (not to say buff to a wolfs 
shadow, or to know neither buff nor 
stye), to say neither one thing nor 
another, to know nothing at all. 

B u ff a r d. A foolish fellow : cf. 

Buff - coat. A soldier, one who 
wears a buff coat (1670). 

Buffer. 1. A dog: this term in 
varying forms from 1567 down to the 
present time Harman gives it as bufe 
(1567) and bufa (1573) ; Rowlands as 
buffa (1610) ; Head as bugher (1673) ; 
whilst in The Memorials of John Hall it 
first appears as buffer. 2. A man, fellow 
sometimes with a slightly contempt- 
uous meaning ; generally speaking a 
familiar mode of address, as in Old 
Buffer, although even this form may 
be used disparagingly (1749). 3. A 
boxer, one of the fancy (1819). 4. 
A rogue that kills good sound horses 
only for their skins (B. E.). 5. One 
who took a false oath for a considera- 
tion. 6. A pistol (1824). 7. A smuggler, 
rogue, cheat 8. A boatswain's mate, 
one of whose duties it is or was to 
administer the Cat. 9. A stammerer 

Buff Howards. The Third 
Regiment of Foot, now the East Kent 
Regiment ; also The Buffs : from its 
facings and Colonel from 1737 to 1749 ; 
also the Nut-crackers (q.v.) ; and the 
Resurrectionists (q.v.), from its re- 
appearing at the Battle of Albucra 
after being dispersed by the Polish 
Lancers ; also the Old Buffs, from its 
facings, and to distinguish it from the 
31st, the Young Buffs ; but the most 
ancient Old Buffs were the Duke of York 
and Albany's Maritime Regiments 
raised in 1664, and incorporated into 
the 2nd or Coldstream Guards in 1689. 

Buffle. A fool, a stupid person: 
Murray quotes it as occurring in 1655, 
but the term was in use in 1580. 

Buffle- head. An ignoramus, stupid, 
obtuse fellow (1659). 

Buffleheaded. Stupid.idiotic.foolish. 

Buffo. A comic actor, singer in 
comic opera (or burlesque) (1764). 

Buffs (The). The Third Regiment 
of Foot in the British army : see Buff 

Buff y. Intoxicated : see Screwed. 

Bug. 1. A breast-pin. 2. An 
Englishman (old Irish) : Grose says, 
because bugs were introduced into 
Ireland by Englishmen ! ! 3. In the 
United States bug is not confined, 
as in England, to the domestic pest, 
but is applied to all insects of the 
Coleoptera order, which includes what 
in this country are generally called 
beetles. 4. A person of assumed im- 
portance (1771) ; big bug (q.v.), a per- 
son of wealth or distinction ; thence 
cattle - bug, a wealthy stock - raiser ; 
gold -bug, a monied man. Fire-bug, 
an incendiary. That beats the bugs, 
a high mead of praise, that beata 
cock - fighting. As verb, ( 1 ) among 
journeymen hatters, to exchange dear 
materials for others of less value : 
Hats were composed of the furs and 
wools of diverse animals, among which 
is a small portion of bever's fur 
bugging is stealing the bever, and 
substituting in lieu thereof an equal 
weight of some cheaper ingredient 
(Qrose). (2) to bribe : bailiffs accept- 
ing money to delay service were said 
to bug the writ ; (3) to give, hand over, 
deliver (1812). 

Bugaboo. 1. A sheriffs officer 
(Grose). 2. A tally-man. 3. A weekly 

Bugaroch. Pretty, comely, hand- 
some (Grose). 

Bug- blinding. Whitewashing. 

Bugger. 1. A thief (q.v.), one 
who steals breast-pins from drunken 
men. 2. A man, a fellow : a coarse 
term of abuse with little reference to 
the legal meaning : the French has an 
exact equivalent : equivalent to bitch 
(q.v.), as applied to women (1719). 

Buggy. A leather bottle. 

Bugher. See Buffer. 

Bug-hunter. 1. A thief who 
plunders drunken men. 2. An 
upholsterer (Lexicon Balatronicum). 

B u g - j u i c e. 1. Ginger ale. 2. 
The Schlechter whisky of the Penn- 
sylvania Dutch a very inferior spirit : 
also bug-poison. 




Bugle. To bugle it. To abstain 
from going into class until the last 
moment, i.e. until the bugle sounds. 

Bug Walk. A bed. English 
synonyms : Bedfordshire, Sheet Alley, 
Blanket Fair, Land of Nod, doss, rip, 
Cloth Market. 

Bug-word. A word to cause terror, 
swaggering (or threatening) language ; 
i.e. Bugbear- word (1562). 

Build. Properly, to build is to 
construct, says Murray, for a dwell- 
ing and by extension of meaning ... to 
construct by fitting together of sepa- 
rate parts ; chiefly with reference to 
structures of considerable size . . . (not, 
e.g., a watch or a piano). Therefore, 
when build is applied to the make or 
style of dress, it is pure slang It's a 
tidy build, who made it ? A tailor is 
sometimes called a trousers builder. 
In the United States, as Fennimore 
Cooper puts it, everything is built. 
The priest builds up a flock, the specu- 
lator a fortune, thelawyerareputation, 
the landlord a town, and the tailor, as 
in England, builds up a suit of clothes ; 
a fire is built instead of made, and the 
expression is even extended to in- 
dividuals, to be built being used with 
the meaning of formed. I was not 
built that way ; and hence in a still 
more idiomatic sense to express un- 
willingness to adopt a specified course 
or carry out any inconvenient plan. 
To build a chapel, to steer badly, and 
so cause a ship to veer round. Not 
built that way, not to one's taste, in 
one's line a general expression of 
disapproval or dissent, whether said 
of persons or things. 

Bulgarian Atrocities. Varna and 
Rustchuk Ry. 3 per cent, obligations. 

Bulge. The legitimate meaning is 
extended in many odd ways. Bags 
(q.v.) bulge, but do not get baggy; 
and in a similar fashion when a man is 
all attention his eyes are said to bulge. 
To go (or be) on a bulge, to drink 
to excess : see Screwed. To get the 
bulge on one, to obtain an advan- 
tage over, to get the drop on one 

Bulger. Large buster (q.v.). 

Bulk. An assistant to a File 
or Pickpocket, who jostles a person 
up against the wall, while the other 
picks his pocket (B. E. ). 

Bulker. 1. A prostitute of a low 
type, one who slept on a bulk, a kind of 

sill projecting from a window (1691). 
2. A thief (q.v.) : see Bulk (1669). 

Bulky. A police constable: said 
to be a northern term (1821). As 
adj. (Winchester College) ; rich, gener- 
ous (or both) : the opposite of brum 

Bull. 1. Formerly a blunder or 
mistake ; now generally understood 
as an inconsistent statement, a ludi- 
crous contradiction, often partaking 
largely of the nature of a pun : the 
term was current long before the form 
Irish bull is met with (1642). 2. A 
crown, five- shilling piece : formerly 
bull's-eye (q.v.) (1812). 3. Originally 
a speculative purchase for a rise ; i.e. 
a man would agree to buy stock at a 
future day at a stated price with no 
intention of taking it up, but trusting 
to the market advancing in value to 
make the transaction profitable : bull 
is the reverse of bear (q.v.) : the term 
is now more frequently applied to 
persons, i.e. to one who tries to en- 
hance the value of stocks by speculative 
purchases or otherwise ; also used as 
a verb and adjective (1671) : on the 
French Bourse a bull is haussier, in 
Berlin he is known as liebhaler ; and 
in Vienna contremine. 4. See Bull the 
cask (or barrel). 5. A teapot with 
the leaves left in for a second brew. 
6. Prison rations of meat, an allusion 
to its toughness ; also generally used 
for meat without any reference to its 
being either tough or tender: Fr., 
bidoche. 7. A locomotive : sometimes 
buttgine. 8. (Winchester College). 
Cold beef : introduced at breakfast 
about 1873. As verb, at Dartmouth 
College, to recite badly, make a poor 
recitation. Stale bull, stock held over 
for a long period with profit. To 
bull the cask (or barrel), to pour 
water into a rum cask when empty, 
with a view to keeping the wood 
moist and preventing leakage ; the 
water after some time is very intoxi- 
cating, and the authorities, not looking 
with much favour upon wholesale 
brewing of grog hi this way, sometimes 
use salt water as a deterrant, though 
even this salt water bull, as it is called, 
when again poured out, has often 
proved too attractive for seamen to 
resist : again it is common to talk in the 
same way of Bulling a teapot, coffee- 
pot, etc. ; that is, after the first brew 
has been exhausted, by adding fresh 




water, and boiling over again, to make 
a second brew from the old materials. 
Be may bear a bull that hath borne a 
calf, after little, big things are possible. 
A bull in a china shop, a simile of reck- 
less destruction. To take the, butt by 
the horns, to meet a difficulty with 
resolution and courage. To show the 
butt horn, to make a show of resist- 

Bullace. A black eye ( 1659). 
Bull-and-cow. A row. 
Bull-back. Pickaback (q.v.) 

Bull -bait. To bully, hector, 

Bull -beef. Hard, stringy meat; 
hence, As ugly as bull-beef ; As big as 
bull-beef ; Go and sell yourself for bull- 
beef (1579). To bluster like butt-beef, 
to tear round like mad. 

Bull-calf (or dog). A great hulkey 
or clumsy fellow (Orose). 

Bull-chin. A fat, chubby child 

Bull -dance. A dance in which 
only men take part: cf. Stag-dance, 
Gander-party, Hen-party, etc. 

Bull-dog. 1. A sheriffs officer, 
bailiff (1698). 2. A pistol; in the 
naval service a main-deck gun (1700). 
3. A sugar-loaf. 4. A proctor's assist- 
ant or marshal (1823). 5. A member 
of Trinity College, Cambridge : ob- 

Bull-dog Blazer. A revolver. 
Bull-dose. A severe castigation 
or flogging. As verb, to thrash, in- 
timidate, bully ; a term of Southern 
political origin, originally referring 
to an association of negroes formed 
to insure, by violent and unlawful 
means, the success of an election : 
now in general use, to signify the 
adoption and use of coercive measures 

Bull-doser. 1. A bully, braggart, 
swaggerer. 2. A pistol : spec, one 
carrying a bullet heavy enough to 
destroy human life with certainty. 

Bullet. To give the bullet, to dis- 
charge an employe, give the bag (or 
sack) (1841). Full bullet, full size. 
Every bullet has its billet (or lighting- 
place): see Billet. Bullet in mouth, 
ready for action. 

Bullet-head. 1. A person with a 
round head like a bullet 2. An 
obstinate fellow, pig-headed fool, dull 
silly fellow (B. E.). 

Bullfinch. 1. A stupid fellow. 2. 
A high thick hedge ; one difficult to 
jump or rush through: most authorities 
agree that this term is a corruption of 
bull-fence, i.e. a fence capable of pre- 
venting cattle from straying. As verb, 
to leap a horse through such a hedge 

Bull-flesh. Brag, swagger (1832). 

Bull -head. 1. Hair curled and 
frizzled, worn over the forehead 
(1672). 2. A fool, blockhead. Bull- 
headed, pig-headedly impetuous, block- 

Bull-jine. A locomotive. 

Bull -nurse. A male attendant on 
the sick. 

Bullock. 1. A cheat. 2. A 
countryman or bushman : cf. Bullock- 
puncher. As verb, to bully, bounce 
over, intimidate (1716). 

Bullock's Heart. See Token. 

Bullock's-horn. To pawn. 

Bull Party. A party of men. 

Bull - puncher. A cow-puncher, 

Bull's Eye. 1. A sweetmeat of 
which peppermint is an important in- 
gredient (1825). 2. A five-shilling 
piece, a bull (q.v.) (1696). 

Bull's - eye Villas. A nickname 
given to the small open tents used by 
the Volunteers at their annual gather- 

Bull's Feather. To give [or yet] 
the butt's feather, verbal phr. (old). To 
cuckold. Fr., planter des plumes de 

Bull's -head. A signal of con- 
demnation, and prelude of immediate 
execution, said to have been anciently 
used in Scotland (Jamieson). 

Bull's-noon. Midnight (1839). 

Bull -trap. A sham police con- 

Bully, subs. (old). 1. A fancy man 
(q.v.) (1706). 2. (Eton College). A 
melee at football ; the equivalent of 
the Rugby scrimmage and the Win- 
chester hot. 3. (nautical). A term 
of endearment : orig. of either sex 
sweetheart, darling : now of men only 
pal, mate. 4. A weapon formed 
by tying a stone or a piece of lead 
in a handkerchief: used knuckle- 
duster fashion. 5. A bravo, hector, 
swashbuckler ; now spec, a tyran- 
nical coward. As adj., fine, capital, 
crack, spiff (1681). That's butty for 
you, Grand, fine, all right, OK. 


Bully Beef. 

Bum Fodder. 

Sully boy (or bully boy with tlie glass 
eye), a good fellow (1815). 

Bully Beef. Tinned meat: iron 
ration (q.v.) : in the navy, boiled salt 

Bully-boss. The landlord of a 
brothel or thieves' den. 

Bully-cock. 1. One who foments 
quarrels in order to rob the persons 
quarrelling (Grose). 2. A low round 
hat with broad brim, billy-cock (q.v.). 

Bully-huff. A boasting bully. 

Bullyrag (or Ballyrag). To revile, 
abuse, scold vehemently usually in 
vulgar or obscene language ; also to 
swindle by means of intimidation. 

Bullyragging. Scolding, abuse, 

B u 1 1 y - r o o k (or Bully - rock). 
Originally boon-companion ; later, a 
swaggerer, bully, bravo (1596). 

Bully Ruffian. A footpad or 
highwayman, who, to robbery, added 
coarse invective. 

Bully-scribbler. A bullying 
journalist (1715). 

Bully Trap. A man of mild out- 
side demeanour who is a match for any 
ruffian who may attack him (Grose). 

Bulrush. A simile of delusive 
strength. To seek a knot in a bulrush, 
to cavil, find difficulties where there 
are none : also in sarcasm, to take 
away every knot in a bulrush. 

Bum. 1. The posteriors (1387). 
2. Bum bailiff (q.v.). 3. A birching, 
hiding, tanning. As verb, to arrest. 
Cherry bums, the llth Hussars: the 
obvious reference is to the scarlet 
trousers worn by this branch of the 
service ; a similar nickname is given 
to the French Chasseurs, culs rouges. 
To say neither ba nor bum, to say not 
a word. 

Bum-bailiff (also Bum-baily). A 
bailiff or sheriff's officer (1602). 

Bum Bass. The violoncello. 

Bumbaste. To flog, thrash, beat 
soundly (1571). 

Bum - beating. Jostling, pushing 
others off the pavement (1616). 

Bumbee. A bailiff (1653). 

Bum-blade. A large sword 

Bumble. A beadle. 

Bum-card. A marked playing-card. 

Bumble-crew. Corporations, 
vestries, and other official bodies. 

Bumbledom. Petty officialism, 
red tape, fussiness, pomposity (1856). 

Bumble-bath (or broth). A mess, 
pickle, confusion ; as adj., clumsy, 
unwieldy (1595). 

Bumble-foot. A club-foot (1861). 

Bumble - puppy. Family whist, 
Le. unscientific whist. Also applied, 
says Hotten, to a game played in 
public houses on a large stone, placed 
in a slanting direction, on the lower end 
of which holes are made, and numbered 
like the holes in a bagatelle-table. The 
player rolls a stone ball, or marble, 
from the higher end, and according to 
the number of the hole it falls into the 
game is counted. It is undoubtedly 
the very ancient game of Trmde-in- 

Bumbler. 1. An idle fellow. 2. 
A blunderer. 3. A Tyneside artillery- 

Bumbles. Coverings for the eyes 
of horses that shy in harness. 

Bumbo. A liquor composed of 
rum, sugar, water, and nutmeg (Smol- 
lett) ; brandy, water, and sugar 

Bum-brusher, subs, (schoolboys'). 
A flogging schoolmaster, an usher. 
English synonyms, flaybottom, haber- 
dasher of pronouns (1704). 

Bum Charter. The name given 
to bread steeped in hot water by the 
first unfortunate inhabitants of the 
English Bastile, where this miserable 
fare was their daily breakfast, each 
man receiving with his scanty portion 
of bread a quart of boiled water from 
the cook's coppers (Vaux). 

Bum-court. The Ecclesiastical 
Court (1544). 

Bumclink. In the Midland 
counties inferior beer brewed for hay- 
makers and harvest labourers. 

Bum-creeper. One who walks 
bent almost double. 

Bum Curtain. An academical 
gown, worn scant and short ; especially 
applied to the short black gown worn 
till 1835 by members of Caius College. 

Bumf. Toilet paper. 

Bumfeague (Bumfeagle, Bumfeg). 
To flog, thrash (1589). 

Bumfhunt (Wellington College). 
A paper-chase. 

Bum Fiddle. The posteriors. 

Bum Fidget. A restless individual. 

Bum Fodder. 1. Low-class worth- 
less literature : once in literary use 
(1653). 2. Toilet paper, curl paper 
(q.v.) (Grose). 




Bummaree. A Billingsgate middle- 
man : these men, who are not recog- 
nised as regular salesmen by the 
trade, are speculative buyers of fish 

Bummed. Arrested. 

Bummer. 1. A bum-bailiff (q.v.) 
2. A heavy loss, severe pecuniary 
reverse. 3. An idler, loafer, sponger, 
looter : the term came into general use 
at the time of the Civil War, when 
it was specially applied to a straggler, 
hanger-on, or free-lance, particularly 
in connection with General Sherman's 
famous march from Atlanta to the sea ; 
also a general term of reproach, as 
with rascal, black-leg, etc. 

Bumming (Wellington College). 
A thrashing, licking. 

Bump. When one boat touches 
another in a race it is said to make 
a bump, and technically beata its 
opponent : see Bumping race. As 
verb, to overtake and touch an op- 
posing boat, thus winning the heat or 
race (1849). 

Bumper. 1. Anything of super- 
lative size a big lie, horse, house, 
or woman. 2. A full or crowded house 
(1838). 3. (cards). When, in long 
whist, one side has scored eight before 
the other has scored a point, a bumper 
is the result. 

Bum - perisher (or Bum-shaver). 
A short- tailed coat, a jacket. 

Bumping Race. Eight-oared 
inter-Collegiate races, rowed in two 
divisions of fifteen and sixteen boats 
respectively, including a sandwich 
boat (q.v.), i.e. the top boat of the 
second division, which rows bottom of 
the first : the boats in each division 
start at a distance apart of 175 feet 
from stern to stern in the order at 
which they left off at the last preceding 
race, and any boat which overtakes, 
and bumps another (i.e. touches it in 
any part) before the winning post is 
reached, changes place with it for 
the next race. 

Bumpkin. The posteriors (1658). 

Bumpology. Phrenology. Bump- 
otopher, a phrenologist. 

Bump-supper. A supper to com- 
memorate the fact of the boat of the 
college having, in the annual races, 
bumped or touched the boat of another 
college immediately in front. 

Bumpsy. Drunk: see Screwed. 

Bumptious. Arrogant, self- 

sufficient, on good terms with oneself 

Bumptiousness. Self-assertiveness, 
arrogance, self-conceit. 

Bum-roll. A pad or cushion worn 
by women to extend the dress at the 
back the equivalent of the modern 
bustle or dress-improver (1601). 

Bumsquabbled. Discomfited, 
defeated, stupefied (1620). 

Bum-sucker. A sponger, toady, 
lick-spittle, hanger-on : Fr., lechc-cul. 

Bum-trap. A bailiff (1750). 

Bun. 1. A sponger, one who 
cannot be shaken off. 2. A knob of 
hair worn at the back of the head. 3. 
A term of endearment (1587). To 
take (or yank) the bun, to take first 
place, obtain first honours : a variant 
of take the cake. 

Bunce (Bunse or Bunt). Originally 
money : see Rhino. 2. Profit, gain, 
anything to the good. 

B u n c e r. One who sells on 

Bunch-of-fives. The hand or fist 

Bunco (or Bunco-game). A 
swindling game played either with 
cards or dice, not unlike three card 
monte. As verb, to rob, cheat, or 
swindle by means of the bunco game ; 
or by what in England is known as the 
confidence trick, etc. 

Bunco-steerer (Bunko-steerer). A 
swindler, confidence-trick man : The 
bunco-steerer .... will find you out 
the morning after you land in Chicago 
or St. Louis. He will accost you 
very friendly, wonderfully friendly 
when you come out of your hotel, by 
your name, and he will remind you 
which is most surprising, considerin' 
you never set eyes on his face before 
now you have dined together in Cin- 
cinnati, or it may be Orleans, or per- 
haps Francisco, because he finds out 
where you came from last ; and he will 
shake hands with you ; and he will 
propose a drink ; and he will pay for 
that drink ; and presently he will take 
you somewhere else, among his pals, 
and he will strip you so clean, that there 
won't be felt the price of a four-cent 
paper to throw around your face and 
hide your blushes. In London . . . 
they do the confidence trick (Besant 
and Rice). 

Bundling (or Bundling up). Men 
and women sleeping on the same bed 



Burn -crust. 

together without having removed their 

Bung (Bong, Boung). 1. A purse 
(1567). 2. A pickpocket: also Bung- 
nipper (1598). 3. A brewer, landlord 
of a public house. Hence as adj., 
tipsy, fuddled ; see Screwed. As verb, 
(1) generally bung up, i.e. to close or 
shut up the eyes by means of a blow 
that causes a swelling (1593); (2) to 
give, pass, hand over, drink, to per- 
form almost any action : Bung over 
the rag, hand over the money ; (3) 
to deceive one by a lie, to cram 

Bungay. Oo to Bungay I Go to 
the deuce ! 

Bung-eyed. 1. Drunk, fuddled: 
see Screwed (1858). 2. Cross-eyed, 
unable to see straight, boss-eyed, 
squinny-eyed (q.v.). 

Bung-hole. The anus (1611). 

Bungfunger. To startle, confuse : 
cf. Bumbsquabbled : also used as adj., 
confounded (1835). 

Bung- juice. Beer. 

Bung-knife (or Boung-knife). A 
cut-purse's knife (1592). 

Bung-nipper (or Boung-nipper). 
A cut- purse, sharper. 

Bung Upwards. Said of a person 
lying on his face. 

Bunk. Hasty departure. As verb, 
( 1 ) to be off, decamp ; (2) (Wellington 
College), to expeL 

Bunker. Beer : see Drinks. 

Bunkum (Buncombe, Buncome). 
Talking for talking' s sake, claptrap, 
gas, tall talk : the employment of the 
word in its original sense of insincere 
political speaking or claptrap is ascribed 
to a member of Congress, Felix Walker, 
from Buncombe County, North Caro- 
lina, who explained that he was merely 
talking for Buncombe, when his fellow 
members could not understand why 
he was making a speech. That's oil 
buncombe, That's all nonsense, or, an 
absurdity. Also used attributively ; 
for example, a bunkum proclamation, 
bunkum logic, bunkum politicians, 
etc. (1841). 

Bunky (Christ's Hospital). Awk- 
ward, ill-finished. 

Bunnick. To settle, dispose of 

Bunny. An endearment : of 
women and children (1606). 

Bunny -grub (Cheltenham Col- 
lege). Green vegetables, such as 

cabbage, lettuce, and the like : at the 
Royal Military Academy and other 
schools, grass (q.v.). 

Bunse. See Bunce. 

Bun - struggle (or Bun - worry). 
A tea : see Tea-fight. 

Bunt. See Bunce. 

B u n t e r. A low vulgar woman, 
one who picks up rags and refuse in 
the street. 2. A woman who takes 
lodgings, and after staying some time, 
runs away without paying the 

Bunting. An endearment to a 
child : as in Baby bunting. 

Burden's Hotel. Whitecross Street 
Prison, of which the Governor was a 
Mr. Burden : see Cage. 

Burick (or Burerk). A woman; 
spec, one showily dressed ; for- 
merly a thief's term for a prostitute 

Burke. 1. To murder by strangul- 
ation : as Burke did for the purpose of 
selling the bodies for dissection. 2. 
To hush up, smother a matter. 3. To 
dye the moustache and whiskers. 

Burn. To cheat, swindle. To 
be burned, to be infected with venereal 
disease. To burn the parade, to warn 
more men for a guard than necessary, 
and excusing the supernumeraries for 
money : this practice was formerly 
winked at in most garrisons, and was 
a considerable perquisite to the adju- 
tants and sergeant-majors ; the pre- 
tence for it was to purchase coal and 
candle for the guard, whence it was 
called burning the parade. Burn my 
breeches ! A mild kind of oath. To 
burn the ken, to live at an inn or tavern 
without paying for one's quarters. 
His money burns in his pocket, he is 
eager to spend (1740). To burn one's 
boats behind one, to cut off all chance 
of retreat. To burn the Thames, to 
perform some prodigy. To burn day- 
light, to burn candles in the daytime. 
To burn fine weather, to fail to turn it 
to advantage. To burn the candle at 
both ends : see Candle. To burn the 
planks, to remain long sitting. To 
burn one's fingers, to suffer through 
meddling. To b urn a stone, to displace 
by accident. 

Burnand. To pilfer plots of plays, 
novels, etc. ) : from the name of Mr. F. 
Burnand, the editor of Punch. 

Burn-crust. A baker : cf. Master of 
the mint, a gardener ; Bung, a brewer ; 




Ball of wax, a shoemaker; Quill-driver, 
a clerk ; Snip, a tailor, etc. 

Burner. A card-sharper. 

Burr. A hanger on, dependant, 
sponger. As verb (Marl borough Col- 
lego), to fight, scrimmage, rag. 

Burst. 1. A spree, drunken frolic, 
big feed, blow out (q.v.) : usually, On 
the burst. 2. A sudden and vigorous 
access (or display) of energy, a lively 
pace or spurt. 

Bursted. Hard up. 

Burster. 1. A heavy fall, cropper. 
2. See Buster. 

Bury. Go bury yourself ! A 
Califoruianism which has more of the 
fortitcr than the auaviter in its com- 
position : equivalent to, Go ! hide your 
diminished head : cf. Carry me out 
and bury me decently. To bury (or dig 
up) the hatchet : amongst Indian tribes 
certain symbolic ceremonies are con- 
nected with the war- hatchet or toma- 
hawk, which are equivalent to a 
declaration of war, or a compact of 
peace : To bury the hatchet is the em- 
blem of the putting away of strife and 
enmity; on the other hand, the redskin, 
before he commences hostilities, digs up 
afresh the fateful symbol. To bury a 
moll, to desert a wife or mistress. To 
buryaQuaker,to evacuate, ease oneself. 
To bury a vrife, to feast and make 
merry : used in connection with the 
jollifications frequently indulged in 
by apprentices on the completion of 
their term of indenture, when they 
became full-blown craftsmen. 

Bus (or Buss). 1. Business 
(q.v.) : pronounced biz. 2. Omnibus 
( 1 832). As verb, to punch one's head. 

Bush. 1. To camp out in the bush, 
get lost in the bush. Hence, 2. to 
be in a mental or a physical difficulty, 
to be muddled. To beat about the 
bush, to prevaricate, avoid coming to 
the point, go indirectly to one's object. 

Bushed. Hard up, without 
money, destitute (1812). 

Bushed On. Pleased, delighted. 

Bushwhacker. A free-lance: during 
the American Civil War deserters from 
the ranks of both armies infested the 
country, making raids upon defence- 
less houses and sacking whole towns. 

Bushy -park. A lark. To be in 
bushy park, to be poor. 

Business. Dramatic action, 
bye-play (1753). To do one's business 
for one, to kill, cause one's death. 

Business End [of a thing]. The 
practical part. 

Busk. To busk it, to sell songs, 
books, and other articles at bars and 
tap-rooms of public houses : also to 
work public houses and certain spota 
as an itinerant musician. 

Busker. See Busk. 

Busnapper. See Buz-napper. 

Buss Beggar. An old prostitute of 
the lowest type, a beggar's trull. 

Bust 1. A corrupted form of 
burst : also busting, busted. 2. A 
burglary. 3. A frolic, spree, drunken 
debauch : cf. to go on the bust. 4. 
A failure, fizzle. As verb, ( 1 ) to burst, 
explode, (2) to commit a burglary ; (3) 
to inform against an accomplice ; (4) 
to fail in business or transactions of 
any kind ; (5) to put out of breath, 
wind ; (6) to indulge in a drunken 
frolic, go on the spree ; (7) to destroy, 
commit suicide, set aside, expose. 
Bust me \ A mild oath Blow me ! 
Jigger me ! 

Buster. 1. A new loaf; also a 
coarse cake or bun of large size that 
fills or blows out the stomach ( 1821). 2. 
A burglar : see Thief. 3. Anything of 
superior size, that has unusual capa- 
city, that causes admiration, a spurt. 
To come a buster, to fall heavily, to come 
a cropper. In for a buster, prepared, 
ready (or determined) for a spree 
(1852). 4. A heavy storm from the 
south, brick-fielder (q.v.). 

Busting. Informing against ac- 
complices, turning King's evidence. 

Bustle. 1. A pad, roll, or wire 
contrivance worn by women at the 
back in order to extend the dress, and 
also with a view to setting off the 
smallness of the waist (1788). 2. 
Money : see Rhino. As verb, to con- 
fuse, confound, perplex. 

Busy-head. A busybody. 

Busy-idler. A person busy about 

Busy-sack. A carpet-bag: in 
America a grip-sack. 

Butch, To follow the trade of s 

Butcher. 1. The king in playing- 
cards : when card-playing in public 
houses was common, the kings were 
called butchers, the queens bitches, 
and the knaves jacks: Fr., boruf. 2. 
A peripatetic vendor of varieties and 
' notions ' on railway cars at once 
a convenience and a terror. 3. A 


Butcher' s-bUl. 


prison doctor. 4. A malevolent critic. 
As verb, to murder a reputation, to 
mangle an author's lines. To biitcher 
about (Wellington College), to make a 
great noise, humbug. 

Butcher's-bill. The list of those 
killed in battle. 

Butcher's Mourning. A white hat 
with a black mourning hat-band. 

Butteker. A shop. 

Butter. Fulsome flattery, 
unctuous praise, soft soap: Fr., 
cirage (1819). As verb, (1) to 
flatter fulsomely, indulge in rhodo- 
mantic praise: Fr., cirer (1700); (2) 
to increase the stakes every throw or 
every game (1696). To look as if 
butter would not melt in one's mouth, a 
contemptuous saying of persons of 
simple demeanour (1475). Will cut 
butter when it's hot, said of a knife 
when blunt. Butter and eggs, going 
down a slide on one foot and beating 
with the heel and toe of the other at 
short intervals. 

Butter-bag (or Butter-box). A 
Dutchman (1600). 

Butter-boat. To empty the 
butter-boat, to lavish praise, to butter 

Buttercup. A pet name for a 

Buttered. 1. Whipped. 2. Flat- 

Butter-fingered. Apt to let things 
fall, greasy (or slippery) fingered. 
Butter-fingers, one who lets things slip 
easily from a hold (1615). 

Butter-flap. A light cart, i.e. a 

Butterfly. 1. A river barge. 2. 
The guard for the reins affixed to the 
top of a hansom cab. 

Butternuts. The sympathisers 
with the South in the North and the 
Middle States during the American 
Civil War ; the term was derived from 
the colour of the uniforms worn in the 
early part of the war by Confederate 
soldiers in the West, which, being 
homespun, were dyed brown with the 
juice of the butternut. 

Butter-print. A child ; usually 
when illegitimate (1620). 

Buttock. A common prostitute 

Buttock - and - file. A prostitute 
and her companion ; sometimes bulk 
and file ; occasionally buttock and 
file is used of a single individual one 

who unites the roles of a thief and 
prostitute (1671). 

Buttock - and - tongue. A scold- 
ing woman, shrew. 

Buttock-and-twang. A common 
prostitute, but who is no thief. 

Button. 1. A shilling : formerly 
good currency, now only of counter- 
feit coin : see Rhino. 2. A decoy of 
any kind, whether the confederate of 
confidence- trick men, or a sham buyer 
at an auction. As verb, to decoy, 
act as confederate in swindles : Fr., 
aguicher. Not to care a button (or brass 
button), to care nothing. To have a 
button on, to have a fit of the blues 
(q.v.), despondent. To button up, 
when a broker has bought stock on 
speculation and it falls suddenly on his 
hands, whereby he is a loser, he keeps 
the matter to himself, and is reluctant 
to confess the ownership of a share : 
this is called buttoning up. 

Button-burster (or Button-buster). 
A low comedian. 

Button-catcher. A tailor. 
English synonyms: snip, cabbage 
contractor, steel - bar, driver, goose 
persuader, sufferer, ninth part of a 
man, etc. 

Buttoner. A card - sharper's 
decoy (1841). 

Button-pound. Money : generic : 
see Rhino. 

Buttons. A page ; sometimes 
boy in buttons ( 1860). Dash my buttons 
(wig, etc.) a mild oath; also employed 
to express vexation or surprise. Not to 
have all one's buttons, to be deficient 
in intellect, slightly cracky, to have a 
bee in one's bonnet. To have a soul 
above buttons, to be above one's work 
or duty, to think one's ability superior 
to one's position. To make buttons, 
to look sorry, sad, to be in great fear 

Butty. A comrade, partner. 

Buvare. Drink : generic. 

Buy. To buy a prop, a term 
used to signify that the market has 
gone flat, and that there is no one to 
support it. 

Buz (or Buzz). A parlour game 
which is thus described by Hotten, 
who, however, erroneously limited it 
to public-houses : The leader com- 
mences saying one, the next on the 
left hand two, the next three, and 
so on to seven, when buz must be said ; 
every seven and multiple of 7, as 14, 



Cabbage Plant. 

17, 21, 27, 28 etc., must not be 
mentioned bat buz instead ; whoever 
break the rule pays a fine. As verb, ( 1 ) 
some uncertainty exists as to whether 
to buz signifies to drain a bottle or 
decanter to the last drop, or whether 
it means to share equally the last of 
a bottle of wine, when there is not 
enough for a full glass to each of the 
party ; (2) to pick pockets ; (3) to 
search for, look about one. 

Buz-bloke, Buz-cove, Buz-gloak. 
See Buz-napper. 

Buz -man. 1. A pickpocket. 2. 
An informer. 

Buz-napper. A pickpocket: 
see Thief (1781). 

Buz-napper's Academy. 
A training school for thieves : figures 
were dressed up, and experienced 
tutors stood in various difficult atti- 
tudes for the boys to practise upon ; 
when clever enough they were sent on 
the streets : Dickens gives full par- 
ticulars of this old style of business 
in Oliver Twist. 

Buz-napper's Kinchin. A watch- 

Buzzing (or Buz-faking). Pocket- 

By-blow. An illegitimate child : 
also By-chop and By-slip (1594). 

By Cracky! An ejaculation con- 
veying no idea beyond that of general 

Bye - drink. Liquid refreshment 

taken at other than meal - time* 

By George! An ejaculation sig- 
nifying either surprise, or anger, or 
used without any special meaning 

By Goldami A semi - veiled 

By Golly! Euphemistic for By 
God (1743). 

By Gorram ! See By Goldam ! 

By Gosh 1 A euphemistic oath. 

By Gum ! By Gummy ! intj. phr. 
Expletives from the great American 
Dictionary of Oaths and CUM Words, 
compiled by descendants of the Puri- 
tan Fathers. 

By hook or by crook. See Hook. 

By Hooky. A veiled oath. 

B y n g, B i n g. To go. Bynge- 
awaste, to go away (1567). 

By-scape (or slip). A bastard 

By the Ever - living Jumping 
Moses! An effective ejaculation 
and moral waste - pipe for interior 
passion or wrath is seen in the ex- 
clamation, By the ever-living jump- 
ing Moses ! a harmless phrase, 
that for its length expends a con- 
siderable quantity of fiery anger. 

By the Living Jingo ! (or By 
Jingo !) See Jingo. 

By the Wind. Hard up, in diffi- 

Cab. 1. An adventitious aid to 
study, a crib, a pony (q.v.). As verb, 
to use a crib; cf. cabbage (1853). 
2. A brothel (1811). 3. A cavalier 
(17th century) ; cf. Sp., caballero. 4. 
A cabriolet : also any vehicle to seat 
two or four persons plying for hire. 
Whence, 5. A cabman (also Cabby): 
e.g. Call a cab ! As verb, to travel by 
cat) : cf. foot it, hoof it, tram it, train 
it, 'bus it. Hence cobber, a cab-horse : 
cf. Vanner, Wheeler, etc. 

Cabbage. 1. Pieces purloined by 
tailors ; hence any small profits in the 
shape of material. [Johnson : a cant- 
ing term.] As verb, to purloin 
material, to take toll (q.v.). Also, cold- 
slaw (American) : cf. Pigeon-skewings. 
Cabbage is stored in hell (q.v.) or one's 

eye (q.v.) (1638). 2. A tailor, also 
cabbager and cabbage - contractor 
(q.v.) (1690). 3. A style of dressing 
the hair : similar to the modern 
chignon: Fr., kilo (1690) 4. A 
translation, crib (q.v.) ; also cab (q.v.) 
5. A cigar: Fr., feuille de platane, 
crapulos (or crapvlados) : see Weed. 

Cabbage - contractor. See Cab- 

Cabbage - gelder. A greengrocer 
or market gardener. 

Cabbage-head. A fool, soft-head, 
go-along (q.v.) : see Buffle (1682). 

Cabbage-leaf. A bad cigar ; also 
cabbage. (A popular theory of 
material.] Fr., infectados. See Weed. 

Cabbage Plant An umbrella, 
gamp (q.v.), brolly (q.v.). 



Cabbager. A tailor. 

Cabbage-stumps. In pi., the 
legs : see Drumsticks. 

Cabbage - tree Mob. A larrikin 
(q.v.). [A low-crowned cabbage-palm 
hat is affected by this section of Aus- 
tralian society.] Also Cabbagites. 

Cabby. A cabman : Fr., hirondette 
and maraudeur (1852). 

Cable. To send a telegram by 
ocean (submarine) wire : cf. Wire. To 
slip or cut one's cable, to die ; see Hop 
the twig. 

Cable-hanger. An oyster dredger 
not free of the fishery. 

Cab-moll. A prostitute. 

Cabobbled. Confused, puzzled, 

Caboodle. A crowd ; usually, the 
whole caboodle. [Boodle (q.v.) was 
frequently used in the same sense, 
which is indifferently applied] (1858). 

Caboose. Convivial quarters, a 
bachelor's snuggery, a den (q.v.), dig- 
gings (q.v.). The whole caboose, a 
variation of caboodle (q.v.). 

Cacafuego. A spitfire, braggart, 
bully (1625). 

Cachunk! An exclamation in- 
tended to convey an imitation of the 
Bound of a falling body : onomatopoeic 
the bow-wow word of Max Miiller. 
Variants are, Caswash, Cawhalux, 
Chewallop, Casouse, Cathump, Ker- 
plunk, Katouse, Katoose, Kelumpus, 
Kerchunk, Kerswosh, Kerslosh, 
Kerswollop, Kerblinkityblunk, and 

Cackle. 1. The dialogue of a play, 
spec, a clown's patter : whence cackle- 
chucker, a prompter ; cackle-merchant, 
a dramatist ; cockier (or cackling-cove), 
an actor, preacher, or lecturer ; cackle- 
tub, a pulpit. 2. Idle talk, inconse- 
quent chatter, a short spasmodic 
laugh ; and as verb, to talk idly, fussily, 
or loudly of petty things, as a hen after 
laying an egg : see Cackler (1676). 

Cackler. 1. A fowl : also cackling 
cheat (1672). English synonyms: 
beaker, cackler, margery prater, gal- 
eny, partlet, chickabiddy, rooster, 
chuck-chuck, chuckie. French syn- 
onyms : becquant, ornichon, pigue-en- 
terre (peck-the-ground), estable (or 
estaphle), bruantez (Breton). Whence 
cackling-fruit, an egg, and cackler's- 
ken, a fowl-house. 2. A noisy talker, 
blab (q.v.) (1400). 

Cackling - cove. An actor. Eng- 

lish synonyms : mummery- cove, mug- 
faker, mummer, mugger (properly an 
actor who makes free play with his 
face), tragedy or comedy merchant, 
pro, stroller, cackle - faker, barn- 
stormer, surf. 

Cad. A term of contempt : spec, 
an offensive or ill-bred person, irrespec- 
tive of social position, but formerly 
of underlings and others performing 
menial offices. [0. E. D. : apparently 
from cadet and the popular forms 
cadee and caddie; cadator suggests a 
collateral, if an independent origin.] 
The vocable has passed through a 
variety of meanings. 1. A passenger 
taken up by coach drivers for their own 
profit. 2. A chum or companion. 3. 
An assistant. 4. An omnibus con- 
ductor. 5. A messenger or errand boy. 
6. A non-school or non-university man. 
At Cambridge, snob (q.v.), the word 
Thackeray used, has long been a 
common term for a townsman ; now 
the undergrad says Townee or Towner 
(q.v.) (1831). 7. A vulgar, ill-man- 
nered person, a blackguard, i.e. a 
person incapable of moral decency 
( 1 849). Hence caddish, vulgar, offens- 
ively bred. 

Cadator. A beggar apeing a 
decayed gentleman (1703). 

Caddie. An attendant at golf. 

Cade. The Burlington Arcade : cf. 
Zoo, Proms, Pops, Cri. 

Cadge. The profession of cadging 
or begging. As verb, to obtain by 
begging, to beg in an artful wheedling 
manner. Here cadging (or on the 
cadge), on the make (q.v.) ; among 
intimates to cadge a dinner or supper 
is often used without implied re- 
proach: see Cadger (1811). English 
synonyms: to mump, pike, mouch, 
stand the pad, maund, tramp, mike. 

Cadge-cloak (or Gloak). A 
beggar (1791). 

Cadger. 1. Primarily a carrier, 
pedlar, or itinerant dealer. 2. A whin- 
ing beggar, sponger (q.v.), snide (q.v.). 
Eng. synonyms : Abram man, croaker, 
Abraham cove, Tom of Bedlam, Bed- 
lam beggar, maunderer, moucher, 
pikey, traveller, turnpike or dry- land 
sailor, scoldrum, shyster, shivering 
James, silver beggar, skipper-bird, 
mumper, paper-worker, goose-shearer, 
master of the black art, durrynacker. 

C a d y. A hat, also cadey and 
caddy : see Golgotha. 




Caffan. See Caasan. 

Caffre's Tightener. A full 

Cage. 1. A petty prison, a country 
lock-up (1500). English synonyms 
(generic) : academy, boat, boarding- 
house, bower, block - house, bastille, 
bladhunk, stone-jug, jug, calaboose, 
cooler, coop, downs, clink, jigger, Irish 
theatre, quod, shop, stir, clinch, steel, 
sturrabin, mill, toll-shop, floating hell, 
floating academy, dry room, House that 
Jack Built, choakee. Special names 
for particular prisons : Bates' s Farm or 
Garden (Cold Bath Fields), Akerman's 
Hotel (Newgate), Castieu's Hotel (Mel- 
bourne Gaol, Burdon's Hotel (White 
Cross Street Prison), Ellenborough 
Lodge, Spike or Park (the King's 
Bench Prison, to which, as a matter of 
fact, every Chief-Justice stood god- 
father), Campbell's Academy (the 
Hulks), City College and Whittington's 
College (Newgate), Tench, Pen, and 
Smith's Hotel (Edinburgh). 2. A 
dress-improver, bustle : see Bird-cage 
3. A bed ; also Breeding-cage. 4. The 
Ladies' Gallery in the House of 
Commons, also called the Chamber of 
Horrors, which, however, is properly 
the Peeresses' Gallery in the Upper 

Cagg. A term used by private 
soldiers, a solemn vow or resolution 
not to get drunk for a certain time ; or, 
as the term is, till their cagg is out, 
which vow is commonly observed with 
the strictest exactness : e.g. ' I have 
cagg'd myself for six months. Excuse 
me this time, and I will cagg myself 
for a year.' Common in Scotland, 
where the vow is performed with divers 
ceremonies (Groee). 

Cag - mag. 1. A tough old goose ; 
hence, 2. refuse, rubbish, scraps and 
ends (1769). 

Cain. To raise Cain, to be quarrel- 
some, make a disturbance : also to 
raise hate, hell (or hell and tommy), 
and to raise Ned (q.v.). To pay the 
cain, to pay the penalty. 

Cain and Abel. A table. 

Cainsham-smoke. The tears of a 
wife- beaten husband (Dunton) (1694). 

Cake (or Cakey). 1. A fool, a 
dullard : see Buffle (Grose), 2. A stupid 
policeman. 3. (Christ's Hospital). A 
stroke with a cane : also as verb, to 
take the cake, to rank highest, carry off 
honours, be the best of a kind, nil the 

bill (theatrical). In certain section! 
of the U.S.A. cake walks have long 
had a vogue among the coloured 
people. The young bucks ' get them- 
selves up regardless,' and walk 
from one end of a hall to the other, 
under the gaze of dusky beauty and 
the critical glance of judges. The 
marking is done on a scale of numbers, 
and ties are walked off with the utmost 
finish and rare attention to style. The 
prize is a cake, and the winner takes it.] 
Also to take (or yank) the bun, to slide 
away with the Banbury, to annex the 
whole confectioner's shop : cf. to take 
the kettle, to take the prize for lying. 
Hurry up the cakes 1 Look sharp ! 
[Buckwheat and other oat cakes form a 
staple dish at many American tables.] 
Like hot cakes, quickly, with energy ; a 
variant of like winking, or one o'clock. 
Phrases : You can't eat your cake 
and have it ; One's cake is dough, 
one's project has failed ; Every cake 
has its mate, make, or fellow. 

Cake -fiddler (or Fumbler). A 

Cakes and Ale. A good time : 
also Cakes and cheese. 

Cakey-pannum Fencer. See Pan- 

Calaboose. A common gaol. 
[From the Sp., calabozo, through the 
French.] Also as verb, to imprison 

Calculate. To think, expect, 
believe, intend : see Guess and Reckon. 
Sometimes (New England) cal'late 

Calends. See Greek Kalends. 

Caleys. Caledonian Railway Ordin- 
ary Stock. 

Calf. 1. An ignoramus, dolt, weak- 
ling : cf. Calf lolly (1653). For 
synonyms, see Buffle. 2. An endear- 
ment : cf. Puss, Ape, Monkey, etc. 
3. See Essex calf. To eat the calf in 
the cow's belly, to anticipate, to count 
one's chickens before they are hatched 
( 1 748). To slip the calf, to suffer abor- 
tion, to be brought to bed : properly 
of cattle. Calf-oed, a cow's matrix ; 
also parturition : cf. Child- bed and 
Bairn s-bed (q.v.). 

Calf - clinger. In pi., pantaloons, 
i.e. close-fitting trousers. 

Calf - country (land or ground). 
One's birthplace ; the scene of early 
life. Also Calf-time, the period of 



Camp-stool Brigade. 

Calf, Cow, and Bull Week. 
Before the passing of the Factory Acts 
it was customary in manufacturing dis- 
tricts to work very long hours for three 
weeks before Christmas. In the first, 
calf week, the ordinary hours were but 
slightly exceeded ; in the second, cow 
week, they were considerably aug- 
mented ; and in the third, or bull 
week, operatives spent the greater 
portion of the twenty-four in their 

Calf's - head. A stupid, witless 
individual (1600). See Buffle. 

Calf-lick. See Cow-lick. 

Calf -lolly. An idle simpleton ; a 
generic reproach (1653). 

Calf-love. A youthful fancy, 
romantic attachment (1823). 

Calfskin-fiddle. A drum. 

Calf - sticking. Selling worthless 
rubbish, on the pretence that it is 
smuggled goods, to any foolish or 
unscrupulous person who can be in- 
veigled into purchasing it. 

Calibogus. A mixture of rum and 
spruce beer, an American beverage 

Calico. Thin, wasted, attenuated 
(Bailey, 1725). 

Calico - bally. Somewhat fast ; 
one always on the look-out for amuse- 

Californian. A red herring : see 
Glasgow Magistrate. In pi., generic 
for gold pieces. 

Californian - widow. A married 
woman whose husband is absent, a 
grass- widow (q.v.). The least offensive 
sense. [At the period of the Californian 
gold fever many men went West, 
leaving their wives and families behind 

Calk (Eton). To throw. 

Call (Eton). The time when the 
masters do not call Absence (q.v. ). To 
have or get a call upon, to have a pre- 
ference, get the first chance. To call 
a go, to change one's stand, alter one's 
tactics, give in at any game or business. 
See Coals, Put, Spade, Wigging. 

Calle. A cloak or gown (Grose). 

Calp (or Kelp). A hat: see Gol- 

Cal vert's Entire. The Fourteenth 
Foot. [From its colonel's name ( 1 806- 
1826) : three entire battalions were 
kept up for the good of Sir Harry, 
when adjutant-general, with an eye on 
Calvert's malt liquors. ] 

Calves. Calves gone to grass, thin 
legs, spindle-shanks. There are many 
ways of dressing calves' heads, many 
ways of saying or doing a foolish thing, 
a simpleton showing his folly, or, 
generally, if one way won't do, we 
must try another. Calves' heads are 
best hot, a sarcastic apology for sitting 
down to eat with one's hat on. 

Calx (Eton). The goal line at foot- 
ball. [From a Latin sense of calx, a 
goal, anciently marked with lime or 
chalk.] As Eton calx is a space so 
marked off at each end of wall (q.v.) ; 
good calx is the end at which there is 
a door for a goal ; bad calx the end 
where part of an elm tree serves the 

Cambridge - oak. A willow: of. 
Cotswold lion, Cambridgeshire night- 
ingale, etc. 

Cambridgeshire (or Fen Night- 
ingale). A frog. [The county is 
scored with canals and dykes.] 

Camd en-town. A halfpenny, 
brown (q.v.) : see Rhino. 

Camel. A great hulking fellow. 

Camel's Complaint. Low spirits, 
the hump (q.v.). 

Camese. A shirt, chemise, shimmy. 
[Sp. camisa, It. camicia.~\ The word ap 
pears in various forms from the begin, 
ning of the seventeenth century, e.g. 
camisa, camiscia, kemesa, camise, and 
in a more genuinely English dress as 
commission, which in turn is shortened 
to mish. 

Camister. A clergyman, a 
blackgown (1851). 

Camp. To go to camp, to go to 
bed, take rest. [In early settler days 
a camp was formed whenever a halt for 
the night was called.] To take into 
camp, to kill. To camp, to surpass, 

Campbell's Academy. The hulks, 
or lighters, on board which felons were 
condemned to hard labour. [Mr. 
Campbell was the first director.] 

Camp-candlestick. 1. An empty 
bottle, ; 2. a bayonet. 

Camp-fire. A military social gather- 

Camp - follower. A prostitute, 
soldiers' trull. 

Camp-stool Brigade. People who 
wait outside a place of entertainment 
for hours in order to secure seats. 
[Camp-stools, now prohibited by police 
order, formed part of the outfit.] 




Can. 1. A dollar piece: see Rhino. 
2. A general servant, slavey (q.v.). 

Canack, Canuck, Kanuck, 
K'nuck. A Canadian : usually K'nuck. 
[Obscure, and limited in application : 
within the Canadian frontier a Canuck 
is understood to be a French Canadian, 
just as within the limits of the Union 
only New Englanders are termed 
Yankees ; elsewhere the appellation is 
used indiscriminately.] 

Canary (or Canary-bird). 1. A 
prisoner (1678). 2. A mistress. 3. 
A sovereign, 20s. : formerly a guinea. 
English synonyms : yellow boy, gold- 
finch, yellow hammer, shiner, gingleboy 
monarch, couter, bean, foont, James 
(from Jacobus), poona, portrait, quid, 
thick 'un, skin, skiv, dragon, goblin : a 
guinea was also called a ^ned. French 
synonyms (twenty franc piece) : jaunet 
sigue (sigle, sigotte or cig), bonnet jaune, 
bouion, mcdtaise, moule a boutons, me- 
daille for. 4. A female watcher or 
stall (q.v.), mollisher (q.v.) : cf. Crow, 
a male watcher : Fr. marque franche. 
5. (Salvation Army), a written promise 
of a donation or subscription. [At some 
of the meetings of the Army, instead 
of sending round the plate, the officers 
distribute slips of paper on which those 
present are invited to record their in- 
tentions : the original colour of the 
slips was yellow.] 

Cancer. To catch or capture a 
cancer. See Crab. (1857). 

Candle. In pi., mucus at the nose. 
Phrases : To hold a candle to another, 
to help : see Devil ; not able (or fit) to 
hold a candle to, useless, nothing to be 
compared to; to sell (or let) by the 
candle (or by inch of candle), to sell by 
candle-auction: bids are received whilst 
a small piece of candle burns, the last 
bid before the candle goes out securing 
the article ; to smell of the candle, to 
show trace of study or night- work : cf. 
to smell of the lamp ; the game (play, 
etc.) is not worth the candle, the end (or 
result) does not justify the cost or 
labour expended ; to light (or burn) the 
candle at both ends, to consume (or 
waste) in two directions at once : cf. 
Fr., Le jeu ne veut pas la chandelle 
(Cotgrave). Also Proverbs and Pro- 
verbial sayings : Set forth the bright- 
ness of the sun with a candle ; He burns 
one candle to seek another : losing both 
time and labour ; To set a candle in the 
sunshine ; They grope in the dark that 

light not their candle at once ; To hold 
a farthing candle to the sun ; To hide 
one's candle under a bushel (Biblical : 
Matt. v. 15). 

Candle-end. In pi., a thing of 
little value (short duration, or small im- 
portance), trifle, fragment. To drink 
off (or eat) candle ends, a romantic 
extravagance in drinking a lady's 
health, by which gallants gave token 
of their devotion. 

Candle-keeper (Winchester). One 
of eight seniors in college by election 
who are not prefects. [Most of the 
privileges of prefects are enjoyed with- 
out their powers.] (1840). 

Candlestick. 1. (Winchester). A 
candidate (1840). 2. (London). In 
pi., the fountains in Trafalgar Square. 

Candle - waster. 1. A night-stu- 
dent : whence candle-icasting : cf. To 
smell of the candle, to show traces of 
study at night. 2. A small portion of 
burning wick that, falling on the 
candle, causes it to run. 

Candy. Drunk : see Screwed 

Candyman. A bailiff, a process 
server. [In 1863, during a strike of 
miners at the collieries of Messrs. 
Strakers and Love, in Durham County, 
a hawker of candy and sweetmeats was 
employed to serve writs of ejectment.] 

Canister. 1. The head : see 
Crumpet (1811). 2. A hat: also 
canister-cap : see Golgotha. 

Cank. Dumb, silent. [Curiously 
enough, cank also signifies to chatter, 
cackle as a goose ; it only survives 
in this latter sense.] (1673). 

Cannibal (Cambridge). In Bump- 
ing races (q.v.) a college may be repre- 
sented by more than one boat, the best 
talent being put into the first ; but it 
has sometimes happened that the crew 
of the second have disappointed the 
prophets and bumped the first of ita 
own college. It is thus termed a 
cannibal, having eaten up its own 
kind, and a fine is exacted from it by 
the University Boat Club. 

Cannikin (or Canniken). The 
plague (1688). 

Cannis-cove. A dog-fancier. 
[Latin, canis, a dog.] 

Cannon. See Canon. 

Cannon - balL An irreconcilable 
opponent of free trade. 

Canoe. To paddle one's own canoe, 
to make one's own way in life, exhibit 




skill and energy, succeed unaided : of 
Western American origin, but now 
universal. Also to bail one's own boat ; 
Fr., il conduit or U mene bien sa barque 

Canon (or Cannon). Drunk : see 

Canoodle. 1. To fondle, bill and 
coo. 2. (Oxford). To paddle a canoe. 
3. To share profits. 4. To coax. 

Canoodler. See Canoodle. 

Canoodling. Endearments. 

Cant. 1. The secret speech or jargon 
of the vagrant classes gipsies, thieves, 
beggars, etc.; hence, contemptuously, 
the peculiar phraseology of a particular 
class of subject : see Thieves' Latin, 
St. Giles' Greek, Peddlars' French, 
etc. (q.v.). Also as verb, to whine, to 
speak the jargon of gipsies, beggars, 
and other vagrants, and (generic), to 
speak, to talk (1567). 2. A blow or 
toss. 3. Food : also Kant, but cf. 
sense 4. (1851). 4. A gift. 

Cantab. A student at Cambridge 
University : i.e. Cantabrigian (1750). 

Cantabank. A common ballad 

Cantankerous. Cross-grained, ill- 
humoured, self - willed, productive of 
strife. Hence cantankerously, can- 
tankerousness, cantankerate (verb), 
and cantankersome (1773). 

Cante. See Canter. 

Canteen-medal. A stripe for the 
consumption of liquor. 

Canter. A vagrant, beggar, one 
who cants (q.v.) or uses the secret 
language otherwise called Peddlars' 
French, St. Giles' Greek, etc. 

Canterbury. In derisive allusion 
(old Puritan) to the see of Canterbury : 
e.g. Canterbury - tale (or story), a 
tedious yarn, friars' tale or fable, cock- 
and-bull story (q.v.); Canterbury- 
trick, mean dodge ; Canterbury pace 
(rack, rate, trot, gallop), the pace of 
a pilgrim on his way to the shrine of 
St. Thomas a Becket, a half gallop. 

Canticle. A parish clerk (Grose). 

Canting. The jargon used by 
beggars, thieves, gipsies, and vagrants : 
see Cant (1547). 

Canting Crew. See Canter. 

Can't. See National Intelligencer, 
Hole, Ladder. 

Canuck. See Canack. 

Canvass. To receive the canvass, 
to be dismissed, to get the sack (q.v.) : 
see Bag (1652). 

Canvasseens. In pi., sailors' can- 
vas trousers : see Kicks. 

Canvas-town. The Volunteer 
Encampment, formerly at Wimbledon, 
now at Bisley, at the meeting of the 
National Rifle Association : also any 
camp or baby-city. 

Cap. 1. A false cover to a tossing 
coin ; also cover-down : the cap shows 
either head or tail as it is left on or 
taken off. 2. The proceeds of an im- 
provised collection : cf. to send round 
the cap or hat (1851). 3. (West- 
minster). The amount of the collec- 
tion at Play and Election dinners. 
[The College cap is passed round on 
the last night of Play for contribu- 
tions.] As verb, (1) To stand by a 
friend, take part in any undertaking, 
lend a hand. (2) To take off (or touch) 
one's hat in salutation ; also to cap to, 
and to cap it (1593). To cap one's 
lucky, to run away : see Bunk ; to cap 
(or cast) one's skin, to strip naked ; to 
set one's cap at, to set oneself to gain 
the affections : only of women (1773); 
to cap a quotation (anecdote, proverb, 
etc.), to fit with a second from the 
same, or another, author ; to go 
one better, in the way of anecdote 
or legend (1584) ; to pull caps, to 
wrangle in an unseemly way : only of 
women (1763) ; to cast one's cap at, to 
be indifferent, give up as a bad job ; 
to come (fall under, or lie) in one's cap, 
to occur to mind, run in the head ; to 
put on one's thinking (or considering) 
cap, to pass under review, think out ; 
the cap fits, the remark or description 
applies ; to have enough under one's cap, 
to be drunk : see Screwed ; to throw 
up one's cap, to manifest pleasure by 
throwing one's cap in the air ; to kiss 
caps with to drink out of the same 
vessel : hence kiss of a cap ; to drink 
cap out, to empty ; also (proverbial), 
If your cap be of wool ; As sure as 
your cap is of wool ; My cap is better 
at ease than my head ; Ready as a 
borrowed cap. 

Cape Cod Turkey. Salted cod : 
also Marblehead turkey : cf. Billings- 
gate pheasant, Yarmouth capon, and 
Albany beef (1865). 

Capella. A coat [Italian], 
English synonyms : benjamin, cover- 
me-decently, upper benjamin (a great- 
coat), Joseph, wrap-rascal, claw-ham- 
mer, swallow-tail, steel-pen (all three, 
a dress coat), M.B. coat, panupetaston, 


Cape Nightingale. 


rock-a-low, reliever, pygostole, ulster, 
monkey-jacket : see Caster. 

Cape Nightingale. A frog: cf. 
Cambridgeshire nightingale. 

Capeovi. Sick, seedy (q.v.). 

Caper. A device, idea, perform- 
ance, occupation ; in America, a 
racket (q.v.), e.g. the ' real estate 
racket' or ' caper' (1867). To cut a 
caper upon nothing, or to eat caper 
sauce, to be hanged : see Ladder. 

Caper-juice. Whisky. 

Caper-merchant. A dancing 
master, hop- merchant (q.v.) (Grose). 

Capital. To work capital, to com- 
mit an offence punishable with death. 

Capivi (or Capivvy). To cry 
capiwy, to be persecuted to the death, 
or very near it. 

Capon. 1. A red herring ; but 
applied to other kinds of fish ; herrings 
now receiving the distinctive cogno- 
men of Yarmouth capons (1640). 2. 
A term of reproach dullard, fool: 
Bee Buffle( 1542). 3. A eunuch (1594). 
4. A billet-doux : cf. (Cotgrave) Fr., 
povlet, a chicken, also a love letter, or 
love message (1588). 

Capon-justice. A corrupt judge 

Cappadochio (Caperdochy, or 
Caperdewsie). A prison : see Cage. 

Capper. 1. A confederate ; at 
cards one who makes false bids in 
order to encourage a genuine player. 

2. A dummy bidder whose function is 
either to start the bidding or to run up 
the price of articles for sale. 3. A per- 
son or thing who caps, or beats, all 
others ; a thing which beats one's 
comprehension (1790). 

Capper - clawing. See Clapper- 

Capsick, Drunk : see Screwed. 

Captain. 1. A familiar and jesting 
address : cf. Governor, Boss, etc. 
(1598). 2. A gaming or bawdy-house 
bully (1731). Captain is also a fancy 
title for a highwayman in a good way 
of business : Fletcher uses the term 
copper-captain, as also does Washing- 
ton Irving, for one who has no right to 
the title, and, in modern athletics, we 
have the captain of a club or crew, with 
the corresponding verb, to captain. 

3. Money : see Rhino. 4. A glandered 

Captain Armstrong. To come 

Captain Armstrong, to pull a horse 
and prevent him from winning. Also 
Captain Armstrong, a dishonest jockey. 

Captain Copperthorn's Crew. 
All officers : of a company where every- 
one wants to be first in command. 

Captain Cork. A man slow in 
passing the bottle. 

Captain Crank. The chief of a 
gang of highwaymen. 

Captain Grand. A haughty, 
blustering fellow : see Furioso. 

Captain Hackum. A hectoring 
bully (Grose). 

Captain Lieutenant Meat 
neither young enough for veal, nor old 
enough for beef. [Properly a brevet 
officer who, ranking aa captain, re- 
ceives lieutenant's pay (Grose).] 

Captain Queernabs. A shabby, 
ill-dressed man : see Guy. 

Captain Quiz. A mocker. 

Captain Sharp. A cheating bully, 
one whose office it is to bully a 'pigeon' 
refusing to pay up (Orose). 

Captain Tom. The leader of a 
mob ; also the mob itself (Grose). 

Caravan. 1. A dupe, gull, subject 
of plunder: see Bubble (1676). 2. A 
large sum of money (1690). 3. A train 
chartered to convey people to a prize 
fight. [Early in the present century 
caravan, now shortened to van, was 
applied to a third class covered railway 
carriage ; now a pleasure party is so 
described ; also a gipsy's cart ; also 
the wheeled cages of a travelling 

Caravansera. A railway station : 
thus : The scratch must be toed at 
sharp five, so the caravan will start at 
four from the caravansera (Hotten). 

Card. 1. A device, expedient, or 
undertaking : e.g. a good card, a 
strong card, a safe card, a likely, or a 
doubtful card (1537). 2. A character, 
odd fish, eccentric ; generally with 
knowing, old, queer, downy, rum, 
etc. : cf. Hamlet, v. ii. (from the 
card table, such expressions as, a 
sure card, a sound card, being of 
very ancient use. Osrio tells Hamlet 
that Laertes is the card and calendar 
of gentry) (1835). 3. The ticket 
(q.v.), the figure, the correct thing. 
Hence (American) a published note, 
short statement, request, explanation, 
or the like ( Webster). Phrases : To give 
one cards, to give one an advantage, 
to give points : Fr., fairt. un bauf ; 




on the cards, within the range 
of probability, liable to turn up : 
Dickens popularised the expression 
(1749) ; to pack (stock, or put up) the 
cards, to prepare cards for cheating 
purposes ; to speak by the card, to 
speak with precision, with the utmost 
accuracy (1569) ; to face (or brag) 
it out with a card of ten, to put on a 
bold front ; a cooling card, anything 
that damps one's ardour, a wet blanket 
(q.v.) ; a leading card, an example, 
precedent ; to play one's best card, to 
stake all, do one's best ; to throw (or 
fling) up one's cards, to abandon a pro- 
ject ; to show one's cards, to make a 
clean beast, full explanation, or to 
reveal the extent of one's resources ; to 
have (or go in) with good cards, to have 
good grounds for expecting success ; to 
cast (or count) one's cards, to take stack, 
reckon chances ; a house (or castle) of 
cards, an unsecure position, scheme, 

Cardinal. 1. A red cloak : worn by 
ladies circa 1740 and later. 2. Mulled 
red wine (1861). 3. A shoeblack. 
Some London brigades wear red tunics : 
that stationed in the City is now better 
known as the City Reds. 4. A lobster : 
from its colour when cooked (Jules 
Janin once made a curious blunder and 
called the lobster le cardinal de la mer) ; 
whence cardinal hash, a lobster salad. 
6. A new [1890] variety of red. 

Cardinal's - blessing. A bene- 
diction carrying with it no further 
advantage (1720). 

Care. Not to care or be worth a 
fig, pin, rap, button, cent, straw, rush, 
or hang, similes of indifference ; to 
care not even so much as the value of a 
fig, a pin, or a straw : FT., s 1 en battre 
Pceil : see Worth (1590). / don't care 
if I do, & street phrase of no parti- 
cular meaning ; also a form of accept- 
ing an invitation to drink : Will you 
peg ? I don't care if I do. 

Careaway. An exclamation of 
merriment or recklessness. Care 
begone ! Away with care ! Hence, 
a reckless fellow, roisterer, anything 
that drives away care (with a pun on 
caraway) (1440). 

Care-grinder. A treadmill, also 
vertical care-grinder (q.v.) : see Wheel 
of life. 

Cargo (Winchester). A hamper 
from home (1840) ; the word is still in 

Carter. A clerk : see Quill-driver. 
Carlicues. See Curlycues. 
Carney (or C a r n y). Seductive 
flattery, language covering a design ; 
as verb, to wheedle, coax, insinuate 
oneself, act in a cajoling manner ; 
hence carneying, wheedling, coaxing, 

Carnish. Meat. [Ital., carne 
flesh: through the Lingua Franca.] 
Whence carnish-ken, a thieves' eating 
house, prog-shop. 

Caroon. A five-shilling piece : see 
Rhino. English synonyms : bull (or 
bull's eye), cartwheel, coachwheel (or 
simply wheel), tusheroon, dollar, thick 
'un(alsoasovereign), case, caser,decus. 

Carpet. To reprimand, call over 
the coals, give a wigging (or ear- 
wigging), etc. : also to walk the carpet 
(1823). As adj., generic for luxury and 
effeminacy : e.g. carpet consideration, 
friend, gentry, toy, poet, soldier, knight 
(q.v.), etc. To bring on the carpet, to 
bring up or forward. 

Carpet-bagger. A political adven- 
turer. [After the Civil War, numbers 
of Northerners went south ; they were 
looked upon with suspicion. Originally 
a wild-cat banker (q.v.)]. 

Carpet-bag Recruit. A recruit of 
better than ordinary standing, i.e. one 
with more than he stands upright 

Carpet - knight. A stay-at-home 
soldier, a shirker of practical work, a 
petticoat dangler : also in such com- 
binations as carpet - captain, carpet- 
squire ; all in contempt. 

Carpet-swab. A carpet-bag (1837). 

Carrier. A rogue employed to 
look out, and watch upon the roads, at 
inns, etc., in order to carry information 
to their respective gangs, of a booty in 
prospect (B. E.). 

Carrier-pigeon. 1. A cheat, spec, 
a lottery office swindler (1781). [The 
sharper attended the drawing of a lot- 
lery in the Guildhall, and as soon as a 
number or two are drawn, wrote them 
on a card ; a confederate, ready 
mounted, rode full speed to some 
distant insurance office, where another 
of the gang, commonly a decent- 
looking woman, insured for a con- 
siderable sum, thus biting the biter 
(Grose).] 2. A peripatetic commission 
agent, a kind of tout. 

Carrion. The human body ; for- 
merly a corpse. 




Carrion-case. A shirt, chemise: 
carrion, the human body: Bee Flesh- 

Carrion Hunter. An undertaker 

Carrots. In pL, red hair: also a 
proper name (1685). Take a carrot I 
A contemptuous retort: originally 

Carry. To carry coals, to put up 
with insults, endure an affront or in- 
jury (1593) ; to carry boodle, see Boodle; 
to carry real estate, to neglect the finger 
nails ; to carry out one's bat, see Bat ; 
to carry corn, to bear success well and 
equably : of a man who breaks down 
under a sudden access of wealth, or 
who becomes affected and intolerant, it 
is said, He doesn't carry corn well ; to 
carry on, to make oneself conspicuous 
by a certain line of behaviour, conduct 
oneself wildly or recklessly, joke or 
frolic ; also, in a special sense, open to 
flirt openly : whence carryings on, 
frolicsome or questionable proceedings, 
a course of conduct that attracts atten- 
tion (1663); carry me out and bury 
me decently, a dovetail to an incredible 
story, or something displeasing ; varied 
by Let me die ! Good - night ! etc., 
as also by Carry me home ! Carry 
me upstairs ! Carry me out and leave 
me in the gutter ! (a writer in Notes 
and Queries (2 S., iii. 387) states it to 
have been in use circa 1780) ; to 
carry the stick : see Trip up. 

Carry-castle. An elephant 

C a r s e y. A house, den, or crib. 
[Lingua Franca casa, a house.] 

Cart To defeat : in a match, fight, 
examination, race, etc. : e.g. we carted 
them home, we gave them an awful 
licking. In the cart (or carted), an 
employee is said to put an owner in the 
cart, when, by trick or fraud, his horse 
is prevented from winning : also in the 
box ; 2. in the know, in the hunt ; 
3. the lowest scorer at any point is 
said to be in the cart ; sometimes on 
the tailboard ; to walk the cart, to walk 
over a racecourse ; to cart off (out or 
away), to remove ; to set (or put) the 
cart before the horse, to reverse matters 
(1520) ; to be left out of the cart's tail, 
to suffer loss or injury through care- 
lessness (1541) ; to keep cart on wheels, 
to peg away, keep things going. 

Cart - grease. Butter, spec, bad 
butter. English synonyms: cow-grease, 

Thames mud, cow-oil, spread, scrape, 
smear, ointment, sluter. 

Carts. A pair of shoes : see Trotter- 

Cart - wheel. 1. A five-shilling 
piece, also coach-wheel, and wheel : 
see Rhino. 2. A broad hint. 3. A 
continuous series of somersaults in 
which the hands and feet alternately 
touch the ground, the appearance pro- 
duced being similar to the spokes of a 
cart wheel in motion ; also Catharine 
wheel (1851). 

Carver and Gilder. A match- 
maker : cf. fingersmith, a midwife. 

Casa. See Case. 

Cascade. 1. Tasmania beer : be- 
cause manufactured from ' cascade ' 
water : cf. Artesian. 2. A trundling 
gymnastic performance in panto- 
mime. As verb, to vomit (1771). 

Case. 1. A certainty in fact, an 
accentuated or abnormal instance in 
character. When two persons fall in 
love, or are engaged to marry, it is said 
to be a case with them. An eccentric 
person is a case. 2. A bad five-shilling 
piece. Half a case, a bad half-crown, 
cf. Caser. 3. A house, respectable or 
otherwise : spec, a brothel, and, by 
transference, a water-closet (1678). 
4. (Westminster School). The discus- 
sion by Seniors and Upper Election 
preceding a tanning (q.v.), and the 
tanning itself. A case of crabs, a 
failure ; a case of pickles, an incident, 
a bad breakdown, a break up ; a case 
of stump, impecuniosity. 

Caseine. A variant of The cheese 
(q.v.) : cf. Cassan. (1856). 

Caser. Five shillings : see Case 
and Caroon. (1879). 

Case-vrow. A dress-lodger (q.v.). 

Casey. Cheese : see Cassan. 

Cash. Equal to cash, of unquestion- 
able merit ; to cash a prescription, to get 
a prescription made up ; cash or pass in 
one's checks, to die (in poker, counters 
or checks, purchased at certain fixed 
rates, are equivalent to coin) ; to cash 
up, to liquidate a debt. 

C a s h e 1 s. Great Southern and 
Western of Ireland Railway Stock. 
[Said to be derived from the fact that 
the line originally had no station at 

Cask. A brougham, pill-box (q.v.) : 
Fr., bagniole. 

Cass. See Cassan. 

Cassan. Cheese ; also cass, casson, 




cassam, cassom, and casey. The old- 
est form is cassan (1567). English 
synonyms : caz, sweaty - toe, choke - 

Cast. See Accounts, Sheep's Eyes. 

Castell. To see, look (1610). 

Caster. 1. A cloak (1567). 2. A 
cast-off (1859). 

Castieu's Hotel. Melbourne gaol : 
so called from Mr. J. B. Castieu : see 

Castle -rag. A fourpenny piece, 
flag : see Joey. 

Cast-off. 1. In pi., landsmen's 
clothes : see Togs. 2. A discarded 
mistress : see Cast. 

Castor. A hat : Latin, castor, a 
beaver : hats were formerly made of 
beaver's fur: see Golgotha. (1640). 

Cat. 1. A prostitute (1401). 2. 
A shortened form of Cat-o' -nine-tails 
(q.v.) (1788). 3. A lady's muff. 4. 
A quart pot : pint pots are Kittens : 
cat and kitten sneaking, stealing pewter 
pots (1851). 5. See Tame cat. 6. A 
fanciful monster infesting lodging 
houses, which devours with equal 
readiness cold meat and coals, spirits 
and paraffin, etc., etc. (1827). Fly- 
ing cat, an owl (1690). To jerk, shoot, 
or whip the cat (or to cat), to vomit 
(1609). To whip the cat (or to draw 
through the water with a cat). 1. To 
indulge in practical jokes (1614): 
hence cat-whipping or whipping the cat : 
A trick often practised on ignorant 
country fellows, vain of their strength ; 
by laying a wager with them that they 
may be pulled through a pond by a 
cat ; the bet being made, a rope is 
fixed round the waist of the party to 
be catted, and the end thrown across 
the pond, to which the cat is also 
fastened by a pack-thread, and three 
or four sturdy fellows are appointed 
to lead and whip the cat ; these, on a 
given signal, seize the end of the cord, 
and pretending to whip the cat, haul 
the astonished booby through the 
water (Grose) 2. To work at private 
houses. Phrases : To see how the 
cat will jump, to watch events and act 
accordingly ; also (American) to sit on 
the fence (1827) ; you kill my cat and 
Ptt kill your dog. Ca' me, ca' thee, 
an exchange in the matter of scratch- 
ing backs : FT., passez moi la casse, et 
je t'envarrai la senne ; to let the cat out 
of the bag, to reveal a secret, to put 
one's foot in it (this and the kindred 

phrase, To buy a pig in a poke, are 
said to originate in the bumpkin's 
trick of substituting a cat for a young 
pig and bringing it to market in a bag : 
if the customer were wary the cat was 
let out of the bag, and there was no 
deal) ; who ate or stole the cat ? a 
gentleman whose larder was frequently 
broken by bargees, had a cat cooked 
and placed as a decoy : it was taken and 
eaten, and became a standing jest 
against the pilferers ; to lead a cat and 
dog life, to quarrel night and day ; to 
turn cat in the pan, to ' rat,' to reverse 
one's position through self-interest, 
to play the turncoat (the derivation is 
absolutely unknown : the one gener- 
ally received that cat is a corrup- 
tion of cate or cake, is historically 
untenable) (1559) ; to feel as though a 
cat had kittened in one's mouth, to 
have a mouth, after drunkenness. 
Many other phrases and proverbial 
sayings will occur to mind : A cat may 
look at a king, a retort on impertinent 
or ill - placed interference, there are 
certain things which an inferior may 
do in presence of a superior ; care 
kitted the cat, the strongest will ulti- 
mately break down, even though one 
had, like the proverbial cat, nine 
lives ; enough to make a cat speak (or 
laugh), of something very extraordin- 
ary or facetious (frequently of very 
good drink) ; to fight like Kilkenny 
cats, to engage in a mutually destruc- 
tive struggle ; to bell the cat : see Bell ; 
to grin like a Cheshire cat. Also pro- 
verbial sayings, Wisdom is great if the 
cat never touched milk ; The cat 
winks when her eye is out ; The cat 
likes (or will eat) fish, but she will not 
wet her feet to catch them ; In the dark 
(or when the candle is out) all cats are 
grey ; Cats are not to be caught with- 
out mittens ; The cat will after kind ; 
Evil will abide as long as a cat is tied 
to a pudding ; As like as a cat and a 
cart wheel ; Not room enough to 
swing a cat ; A cat and mouse game. 

Catabaptist A denier of the ortho- 
dox doctrine of baptism : 16th and 
17th cent. [Coined by Gregory Naz- 

Catamarin. A vixenish old woman 
a cross-grained person of either sex 

Catamount (Catamountain, or Cat 
o' Mountain). A shrew. [Cf. Cata- 
marin and Beaumont and Fletcher's 


Cat and Mouse. 

Cat-o > -nine-ta&8. 

use of the word for a wild man 
from the mountains, a transferred 
sense of catamount, a leopard or 

Cat and Mouse. A house. 

Catastrophe. The tail or latter 
end : cf. the Falstaffian I'll tickle 
your catastrophe. 

Catawampous (Catawamptiously). 
With aridity, fiercely, eagerly, or 
violently destructive ( 1843). As subs, 
pi., vermin, especially those that sting 
and bite. 

Catch. A man or woman matri- 
monially desirable ; formerly a prize or 
booty ( 1593). In combination anything 
that catches : e.g. catch-all, catch-bit, 
catch-cloak, catch-coin, catch-credit, 
catch - fish, catch - fool, catch - penny 
(guinea, shilling, etc.) and so forth. 
To catch (or cut) a crab. (1) To turn 
the blade of the oar, or feather, under 
water at the end of the stroke, and 
thus be unable to recover ; (2) to 
lose control of the oar at the middle of 
the stroke by digging too deeply ; or 
(3) to miss the water altogether, also 
to capture a cancer, and (American) 
to catch a lobster ; to catch a tartar, 
to unexpectedly meet with one's 
superior, to fall into one's own trap, 
having a design upon another, to be 
caught oneself : also to catch on a 
snag (q.v.) (1682); catch that catch 
may (catch as catch can, etc.), to help 
oneself, each as he can ; catch me I (or 
catch me at it !), an emphatic denial 
(1780) ; to catch it, to get a thrashing 
or scolding (1835); to catch on, to 
understand, grasp, apprehend, quickly 
seize an opportunity ; to catch the eye, 
to arrest attention ; to catch fire, to be- 
come inflamed with passion, inspired 
with zeal, etc. ; to catch on a snag, to 
catch a tartar (q.v.), meet with one's 
superior ; to catch on the hop, to catch 
or have on the hip, as Gratiano catches 
Shylock : see Hop ; to catch the wind 
of the world, to quickly understand 
the meaning of what is said. See 

Catch-'em-alive (or alivo). 1. 
A fly-paper. 2. A tooth comb. 

Catch-fart A footman, page-boy. 

Catch - pole. A warrant - officer, 
bum-bailiff : formerly in respectable 
use, but employed contemptuously 
from the sixteenth century (1377). 

Catchy. Vulgarly or cheaply at- 
tractive, of a quality to take the eye or 

ear, easily caught and remembered 
(as a tune) (1831). 

Caterpillar. A soldier: see Mud- 

Caterwaul. To make a noise like 
cats at rutting time, woo, make love 

Catever. A queer or singular 
affair, anything poor or bad. [Lingua 
Franca, and Ital., cattivo, bad.] 

Catfish death. Suicide by drown- 

Catgut - scraper. A fiddler : also 
scraper or teaser of the catgut, rosin- 
tin-- how (1633). 

Cat - harping fashion. Drinking 
cross ways, and not as usual over the 
left thumb (Qrose). 

Cat - head. In pi., the paps : see 

Cathedral (Winchester). A high 
hat : see Golgotha ; as adj., old- 
fashioned, antique (1690). [Because 
only worn when going to the Cathe- 

Catharine Puritan. A member 
of St. Catharine's Hall, Cambridge. [A 
pun on Catharine and Kadoipuv, to 
purify.] Also Doves (q.v.) 

Catherine Hayes. A liquor con- 
sisting of claret, sugar, and nutmeg 
(1856). [The derivation may presum- 
ably be traced to the immense popu- 
larity of the Irish singer at the an- 

Cat's. St. Catharine's Hall : whence 
Cat's men, members of St. Catharine's 

Catherine Wheel. See Cartwheel 

Cat - lap. Thin potations of any 
sort, especially tea (1785). 

Cat-market. A number of people 
all talking at once : e.g. You make a 
row like a cat- market, a general cater- 

Cat - match. When a rook or 
cully is engaged amongst bad bowlers 

Catoller (or Catolla). A noisy, 
prating fellow : a foolish betting man 

Cat - o' - nine - tails (or cat). A 
nine-lashed scourge still occasionally 
used on criminals, but until 1881 the 
authorised means of punishment in the 
British army and navy. In prison par- 
lance the cat-o' -nine- tails is Number 
one, or the Nine- tailed bruiser (q.v.), 
the birch being Number two (q.v.) 




Cat-party (Bitch - party). A 
gathering of women. 

Cats. Atlantic Seconds : for tele- 
graphic purposes. 

Cats and Dogs. To rain cats and 
dogs, and pitchforks and shovels, to rain 
heavily (1738). 

Cat's-foot. To live under the 
cafs foot, to be under petticoat gov- 
ernment, hen - pecked : cf. Apron- 

Cat's - head (Winchester). The 
end of a shoulder of mutton. 

Catskin - earls. The three senior 
earls in the House of Lords, viz. the 
Earls of Shrewsbury, Derby, and 
Huntingdon, the only three earldoms 
before the seventeenth century now 
existing, save those that (like Arundel, 
Rutland, etc.), are merged hi higher 
titles, and the anomalous earldom of 
Devon (1553), resuscitated in 1831. 

Cat's-meat. The lungs. 

Cat's - paw (or Cat's - foot). A 
dupe, tool. [A reference to the fable 
(Bertrand et Baton) of a monkey using 
the paw of a cat, dog, or fox, to pull 
roasted chestnuts off the fire, current 
in the sixteenth century, but varying 
considerably in details. ] ( 1 657 ). 

Cat-sticks. Thin legs (1785), 

Cat's-water. Gin. 

Cattie. An imperfect or smutty 
look on a printed sheet, caused by an 
oily or unclean roller. 

Cattle. A term of contempt : 
applied to human beings : e.g. queer 
cattle, kittle-cattle (1577). Cattle is 
often used of horses. 

Cattle-bug. See Bug. 

Caudge-pawed. Left-handed 

Caught. Caught on the fly, caught 
hi the act, on the hop, or hip. 

Cauliflower. 1. A clerical wig 
supposed to resemble a cauliflower ; 
modish in the time of Queen Anne. 2. 
The foaming head of a tankard of 
beer. In Fr., linge or faux-col. 3. In 
pi. the Forty-seventh Regiment of 
Foot : from its white facings. 

Caulk. 1. Sleep ; as verb, to sleep : 
also subs., caulking (1836). 2. To 
cease ; shut up ; i.e. stop one's talk, or 
leave off talking. 

Caulker. 1. A dram, stiff glass of 
grog : generally a finishing bumper. 
When this happens to be sherry and 
follows the drinking of red wines, it is 
called a whitewash (q.v.) (1808). 2. 

A lie, anything surprising or in- 
credible : see Whopper. 

Caution. Anything out of the 
common, wonderful, staggering, to be 
avoided, that causes surprise, wonder, 
fear. At Oxford, in 1865, a guy 
or cure (1835). Whence cautionary, 
that which is a caution. 

Cavaulting - school. A house of 

Cave (or Cave in). To give way 
when opposition can no longer be 
maintained, break up, turn up. 
English synonyms : to knuckle under, 
knock under, give in, sing small, turn 
it up, chuck it up, jack up, climb down 
(q.v.), throw up the sponge, chuck it, 
go down, go out, cut it, cut the rope 
(pugilistic), etc. ( 1 877). Cave ! (Eton). 
Beware ! a byword among boys 
out of bounds when a master is in 

Caviare. Obnoxious matter 
blacked out by the Russian press 
censor. Every foreign periodical 
entering Russia is examined for ob- 
jectionable references or irreligious 
matter, the removal whereof is accom- 
plished in two ways. If the items or 
articles are bulky, they are torn or cut 
out bodily. If they are brief, they are 
blacked out by means of a rect- 
angular stamp about as wide as an 
ordinary newspaper column, and 
cross-hatched in such a way that, 
when hiked and dabbed upon the 
paper, it makes a close network of 
white lines and black diamonds. The 
peculiar mottled or grained look of a 
page thus treated has suggested the 
attributive caviare : a memory of the 
look of the black salted caviare spread 
upon a slice of bread and butter. As 
verb, to black out. 

Cavort. To prance, frisk, run or 
ride in a heedless or purposeless 
manner. [Lingua Franca, cavolta, 
prancing on horseback.] (1848). 

Cawbawn. See Cobbon. 

Caw - handed (or Caw - pawed). 
Awkward, not dexterous, ready or 
nimble (Grose). 

Caxton. A wig. [A corruption of 

C a y u s e. A nickname given by 
Mormon girls to young Latter Day 
Saints : the Yahoos of the Gentiles. 
[The cayuse is properly the common 
Indian pony.] 

Caz. Cheese: seeCassan. (1812). 



Cedar (Eton). 1. A pair -oared 
boat, inrigged, without canvas, and 
very crank. [From the material] 

2. A pencil. 

Celestial- poultry. Angela. 

Celestial. 1. In pi., The Ninety- 
seventh Regiment of Foot. 2. A 
turn - up or pug nose : see Conk. 

3. A Chinaman. [The Chinese Empire 
is spoken of as the Celestial Empire.] 

Cellier. An out-and-out, unmiti- 
gated lie : an echo of the Meal-tub 
plot (1682). Cf. Burke, Boycott, 
Bishop, and Salisbury. 

Cellar-flap. A step or dance 
performed within the compass of (say) 
a cellar-flap : the Whitechapel artist 
achieves as many changes of step as 
possible without shifting his ground : 
his action being restricted to the feet 
and legs : also to cut capers on a 
trencher : to double-shuffle. 

Cent. See Worth. 

Cent-per-cent. A usurer (Grose). 

Centurion. A batsman scoring a 
hundred runs. [From Centurion, the 
commander of a ' century,' in the 
Roman Army.] 

Century. A hundred pounds ; or 
at cricket, etc., a score of a hundred. 
[Originally a division of the Roman 
Army numbering 100 men. In Eng- 
lish it was and is in common use to 
signify a group of a hundred.] 

Cert. A certainty : also a dead 
(or moral) certainty, a dead 'un, and a 
moral (1859). 

Certainty. An infant of the female 
aex : see Uncertainties. 

Chafe. To thrash soundly, warm 

C h a ff . 1. Ironical or sarcastic 
banter, fooling, humbug, ridicule. As 
verb, to banter, jest, gammon, or quiz 
(1821). Chaffy, full of banter. 2. 
(Christ's Hospital). A small article or 
plaything, e.g. a pocket chaff ; as 
adj. (Christ's Hospital), pleasant, glad : 
sometimes chaffy. As intj. (Christ's 
Hospital), an exclamation signifying 
joy or pleasure. Also phrases and 
proverbs : neither corn nor chaff, 
nondescript, neither one thing nor 
another (1835) ; To sett corn and eat 
chaff, to deny oneself, play the miser 
(1579) ; A grain of wheat in a bushel of 
chaff, poverty of result, much cry and 
little wool. 

Chaff-cutter. A back-biter, 

Chaffer. 1. A quizzer, banterer 
(q.v.). 2. The mouth, the tongue 
( 1 v_' 1 ) ; to moisten one's chaffer, to 
drink : see Lush. 

Chaffing-crib. The place where a 
man receives his intimates ; a den, 
snuggery, diggings (1821). 

Chained (or Chain) Lightning. 
Whisky of the vilest description : 
warranted to kill at forty rods : also 
forty-rod lightning. 

Chain - gang. Jewellers ; watch- 
chain makers: Fr., boguiste and chain- 

Chair. To put in the. chair, to 
commit to prison : of drivers neglect- 
ing to pay hire for their cabs. 

Chairmarking. Inserting the date 
in a cab-driver's licence in words in- 
stead of figures : or, endorsing it in an 
unusually bold, heavy hand : a hint 
to possible employers that the holder 
is undesirable. In other trades it is 
understood that an unexceptionable 
character, with the adjectives care- 
fully underlined, is to be read as imply- 
ing just the opposite of what' it appears 
to say. 

Ch'aldese. To trick, cheat, take 
in (1G84). 

Chalk. 1. A score, reckoning ; 
whence, by chalks, many chalks, long 
chalks, etc., i.e. degrees or marks ; also 
credit, tick (1529). 2. A scratch or 
scar (1846). As verb, (1) To score 
up, tick off. (2) To make one stand 
treat, or pay his footing ; an old 
hand succeeds in chalking the shoes 
of a green hand, the latter has to 
stand drinks all round. (3) To strike : 
cf. chalkers, sense 1 (1822). Phrases: 
To chalk up (or chalk it up), to credit, 
take credit, put to one's account 
( 1 597) ; to beat by long (or many) chalks, 
to beat thoroughly, show appreciable 
superiority (1857) ; to icalk (or stump 
one's chalks), to move or run away, be 
off ; to be able to walk a chalk, to be 
sober (the ordeal on board ship of 
trying men suspected of drunkenness 
is to make them walk along a line 
chalked on the deck, without deviating 
to right or left) ; making chalks, a 
term connected with the punishment 
of boys on board ship, and in the * 
Royal Naval School : two chalk lines 
are drawn wide apart on the deck or 
floor, and a boy to be punished places 
a foot on each of these lines, and 
stoops, thereby presenting a con- 




venient section of his person to the 
boatswain or master ; to chalk the 
lamp-post, to bribe : see grease the palm 
(1857). Other expressions connected 
with chalk are, to know chalk from 
cheese ; to chalk out, etc. 

Chalker. 1. In pi., Men of wit 
in Ireland, who in the night amuse 
themselves with cutting inoffensive 
passengers across the face with a knife. 
They are somewhat like those facetious 
gentlemen, some time ago known in 
England by the title of sweaters and 
mohocks (Grose). 2. A milkman. 

Chalk - farm. The arm. English 
synonyms: bender, hoop-stick, fin, 

Chalk - head. One with a good 
head for figures : spec, a waiter 

Cham (or Chammy). Champagne, 
(q.v.), boy. 

Chamber of Horrors. 1. The 
Peeresses' Gallery in the House of 
Lords : cf. Cage, sense 4. 2. In pi., 

Chance. To have an eye to the main 
chance, to keep in view that which 
will advantage (1609). To chance the 
ducks, to risk what one may, take 
every chance : also, to chance the 

Chance r. A liar; also an in- 
competent workman : i.e. one who 
chances what he cannot do. 

Changery. In chancery, in pugil- 
ism, the head under the left arm of 
an opponent so that he can pound 
away at it with his right ; also fig., in 
a parlous case, an awkward fix : 
FT., chancetterie and coup de chan- 
cetterie, almost literal translations 

Chaney-eyed. One-eyed : cf. 

Change. To give change, to pay 
out, give one his deserts ; whence, to 
take one's change out of, to get even 
with, give tit for tat : see infra ; to 
have all one's change about one, to be 
clever, quick-witted, compos mentis, 
with twelve pence to the shilling about 
one ; to put the change on, to deceive 
mislead (1667); to ring the changes, 
to change better for worse ; also to 
pass counterfeit money, to pitch the 
snide (q.v.) : see Ring (1661) ; to take 
the change out of [a person or thing], 
to be revenged, take an equivalent, get 
quid pro quo : e.g. Take your change out 

of that ! with a blow or other rejoinder : 
cf. Put that in your pipe and smoke 
it ! (1829); quick change artiste, a per- 
former, male or female, who sings one 
song in one costume, retires for a few 
seconds and returns to sing another in 
another guise, and so on ; to change one's 
note (or tune), to pass from laughter to 
tears, from arrogance to humility, to 
alter one's mode of speech, behaviour, 
etc. : see Breath. (1578). 

Change-bags (Eton). Grey flannel 
trousers for cricket, and knicker- 
bockers for football. 

Chant (or Chaunt). 1. A song; 
to throw off a rum chaunt, to sing 
a good song (1882). 2. A cipher, 
initials, or mark of any kind, on a 
piece of plate, linen, or other article ; 
anything so marked is said to be 
chanted ; also an advertisement in a 
newspaper or handbill, etc. (1812). 
As verb, (1) to talk, sing praise, cry, 
crack up: FT., pousser la goualante: 
street patterers and vendors chant 
their songs and wares, oftentimes to 
an extent not warranted by their qual- 
ity. (2) To sell a horse by fraudulent 
representation: Fr., enrosser (1816). 
Hence chanter (generally horse-clianter, 
(1) a fraudulent horse-dealer ; and (2) 
a street patterer : commonly spelt 
chaunter (q-v-) ; chanting, selling 
unsound or vicious horses by a trick. 

Chantey (or Chanty). A song 
sung by sailors at their work. The 
music is to a certain extent tradi- 
tional, the words which are com- 
monly unfit for ears polite are 
traditional likewise. The words and 
music are divided into two parts the 
chanty proper, which is delivered by 
a single voice, with or without a fiddle 
obligato, and the refrain and chorus, 
which are sung with much straining and 
tugging, and with peculiar breaks and 
strange and melancholy stresses, by a 
number of men engaged in the actual 
performance of some piece of bodily 

Chantie. A chamber-pot : see It. 

Chapel (or Chapel of ease). A 
water-closet : see Mrs. Jones. 

Chapel of little ease. The police 
cells : see Little ease. 

Chapped. Parched, dry, thirsty 

Chappie (or Chappy). The latest 
variety ( 1890) of a man about town, a 
dandy : a term of intimacy. 




Character. A man or woman 
exhibiting some prominent (and 
usually contemptible) trait, an eccen- 
tric, a case (q.v.) : generally with 
low, queer, comic, etc. (1773). 

Charactered. Burnt in the hand, 
lettered (q.v.) (1785). 

Charing-Cross. A hone ; see Prad. 

Chariot. An omnibus : in the 
sixteenth century a vehicle of any 
kind, and in the eighteenth a light 
four-wheeled carriage. 

Chariot- buzzing. Picking pockets 
in an omnibus. 

Charity. Cold as charity, lacking 
in feeling, perfunctory ; charity begins 
at home, ties of family, friendship, etc., 
come first. 

Charley (or Charlie). 1. A 
night-watchman. A popular name, 
prior to the introduction by Sir R. 
Peel, in 1829, of the present police 
force ; since fallen into desuetude. 
The Charlies were generally old men 
whose chief duty was crying the houron 
their rounds. Boxing a Charley was 
a favourite amusement with young 
bucks and bloods : when they found a 
night-watchman asleep in his box, 
they would overturn it, leaving the 
occupant to escape as best he might. 
Charles I. reorganised the watch 
system of the metropolis in 1640. 2. 
A small pointed beard, fashionable in 
the time of Charles I. : cf. Imperial, 
Goatee. 3. A fox. 4. A watch. 5. 
(tailors') The nap on glossy-surfaced 
cloth, also a round-shouldered figure. 

Charley Bates' farm (or garden). 
See Bates' farm. 

Charley - Lancaster. A hand- 

Charley- pitcher. A sharper 
working the thimble-rig, three-card 
trick, prick the garter, etc. 

Charley-Prescot A waistcoat 

Charley-wag. To play the 
Charley-wag, to absent oneself from 
school without leave, play truant ; 
figuratively to disappear : Fr., tailler 
(or caler) Fecole. 

Charlies. 1. The paps : see 
Dairy. 2. (Winchester : obsolete). 
Thick gloves made of twine. [Intro- 
duced by a Mr. Charles Griffith.] 

Charm. 1. A picklock (1785). 
2. In pi., the paps: Fr., lea appas: 
once in literary use, but now impos- 
sible except as slang. 3. In pi., 
generic for money : see Rhino. 

Charter. To charter the bar (or 
grocery). To buy all the liquor in 
stock and stand drinks round as long 
as it lasts : this freak was not infre- 
quent in the West In Australia a 
similar expression is to shout oneself 
hoarse (q.v.). 

Chasing. Exceeding a given average 
standard of production. 

Chasse. To dismiss: Fr., chaster 

Chat 1. A house. 2. The truth, 
real state of a case, proper words 
to use, correct card (1819). 3. 
Gabble, chatter, impudence ; e.g. 
None of your chat As verb, to hang : 

C hates. 1. The gallows: also 
Chattes and Chats (1567): see 
Nubbing-cheat. 2. In pi., lice. Eng- 
lish synonyms : active citizens, crabs, 
crumbs, friends in need, back friends, 
grey backs, black cattle, Scots Greys, 
gentleman's companions, creepers, 
gold - backed 'uns, German ducks, 
dicky-birds, familiars, saddle-backs, 
Yorkshire Greys. 

Chat-hole. A hole in a wall, made 
to carry on conversation (prison). 

Chats. 1. See Chates. 2. Seals, 
3. London, Chatham, and Dover Rail- 
way Stock. 

Chatterbox. An incessant talker ; 
contemptuously of adults and play- 
fully of children. Also chatter-basket, 
chatter-bones, chatter-cart, chatter- 
bladder, chatter-bag, chatter-pie, etc. 
Chatter - broth (or water), tea, scandal 
broth (q.v.). Chitter chatter (or 
Chatter-chitter), small talk, gossip. 
Chatter-house, a resort for women 

Chatterer. A blow upon the 
mouth, or a blow that tells (1827). 

Chatterers. The teeth : see 

Ch alter y. Cotton or linen goods 

Chatty. A filthy man : see Chat 
As adj., filthy, lousy. 

Chatty-feeder. A spoon. 

Chaunt See Chant To chaunt 
the play, to explain the tricks and 
manoeuvres of thieves. 

Chaunter. 1. A street ballad 
singer, reciter of dying speeches, etc. 
Rarely heard now except in the poor- 
est neighbourhoods. The practice is 
peculiar. One man gets as far as he 
can, and when his voice cracks a com- 

Chaunter -cove. 


panion takes things up. 2. See 
Chanter, sense 1. 

Chaunter-cove. A reporter. 

Chaunter-cull. A writer of bal- 
lads and street literature for the use of 
chaunters (q.v.). They haunted cer- 
tain well - known public houses in 
London and Birmingham, and were 
open to write ballads to order on any 
subject, the rate of remuneration 
varying from half-a-crown to seven- 
and-sixpence. The chaunter having 
practically disappeared, his poet has 
gone with him (1781). 

Chaunter upon the Leer. An 

Chauvering - donna (or - moll). 
A prostitute : see Tart. 

Chaw. 1. A countryman, yokel, 
bumpkin. In common use at publio 
schools (1856). 2. A mouthful, gob-, 
bet, what can be crammed in the 
mouth at once, e.g. a quid of tobacco, 
a dram of spirits, etc. : as verb, to eat, 
chew noisily, and roughly bite : once 
literary, now specifically to chew 
tobacco (1749). 3. A trick, device, 
sell ; also to deceive. Phrases : To 
chaw over, to create ridicule by repeat- 
ing one's words ; to chaw up, to get the 
better of, demolish, do for, smash or 
finish ; chawed up, utterly done for 
(1843) ; to chaw up one's words, to 
retract an assertion, to eat one's words. 

Chawbacon. A countryman, a 
bumpkin (q.v.). Other nicknames are 
bacon-slicer, clod-hopper, barn-door 
savage, clod-pole, cart-horse, Johnny, 
cabbage-gelder, turnip-sucker, joskin, 
jolterhead, yokel, clod - crusher, etc. 

Cheap. On the cheap, at a low rate 
[of money], economically, keeping up a 
showy appearance on small means ; 
cheap and nasty, of articles pleasing to 
the eye, but shoddy in fact : cf. Cheap 
and nasty, like Short's in the Strand, 
a proverb applied to the deceased 
founder of cheap dinners, now a well- 
known wine-bar ; to feel cheap, to have 
a mouth on, suffering from a night's 
debauch ; dirt cheap or dog chaep, in- 
expensive, as cheap as may be : dog 
cheap is the earliest form in which 
this colloquialism appears in English 
literature (1577), dirt cheap not being 
found earlier than 1837. 

Cheapside. He came home by way 
of Cheapside, i.e. he gave little or 
nothing for it, he got it cheap. 

Cheat. Generic for a thing, spec, 
the gallows ; also the Nubbing, Top- 
ping, or Treyning-cheat. The word 
is variously spelt chet, chete, cheate, 
cheit, chate, cheat. The following com- 
binations illustrate its use : Bdly- 
chete, an apron ; Ueting-chete, a sheep 
or calf ; cackling-chete, a fowl ; crashing- 
cheats, the teeth ; grunting-chete, a pig ; 
hearing -chetes, the ears ; low 1 ing -chete, 
a cow ; lullaby - chete, an infant ; 
mofling - chete, a napkin ; nubbing- 
cheat, the gallows ; prattling -chete, the 
tongue ; quacking -chete, a duck : smell- 
ing-chete, the nose ; topping-cheat, the 
gallows ; treyning-cheat, the gallows ; 
trundling - cheat, a cart or coach all 
of which see (1567). 

Cheats. Sham cuffs or wristbands, 
half sleeves : cf. Dicky and Sham 

Checks. Generic for money, cash 
[A poker term]. To pass (or hand) in 
one's checks, to die : see Hop the twig. 

Cheek. 1. Insolence, jaw ; e.g. 
None of your cheek, None of your 
jaw. Equivalents are lip, chat, 
imperance, mouth, chin, chirrup, and 
nine shillings (nonchalance) (1840). 
2. Audacity, confidence, impudence, 
brass, face. Formerly brow was used 
in the same sense (1642). Also as 
verb in both senses. To one's own 
cheek, to one's own share, all to oneself 
(1841) ; to cheek up, to answer saucily. 

Cheek - ache. To have the cheek- 
ache, to blush, to be abashed. 

Cheekiness. Impudence, effront- 
ery, cool audacity (1847). 

Cheekish (or Cheeky). Audacious, 
impudent, saucy. 

Cheeks. 1. The posteriors. 2. An 
accomplice (1857). 

Cheeks and Ears. A kind of 
head-dress (1600). 

Cheeks the Marine. Mr. Nobody : 
popularised by Captain Marryat. Also 
a sarcastic rejoinder to a foolish or 
incredible story, Tell that to Cheeks 
the marine (1833). 

Cheer. To change cheer, to exhibit 
emotion, change countenance ; to make 
a cheer, to assume a look of anger, fear, 
shame, etc. ; what cheer ? how are 
you ? with good cheer, readily, 
gladly ; to be of good cJieer, to be hi 
good fettle, stout of heart, courageous ; 
the fewer the better cheer, the fewer 
there are, the more there is for each 
to eat. 



Cheese. 1. The cheese, any thing first- 
rate or highly becoming ; the expres- 
sion runs up and down the whole 
gamut of cheese nomenclature, from 
the Stilton, Double Gloster, to the 
pure Limburger (1835). 2. An adept, 
one who takes the shine out of 
another : at Cambridge an overdressed 
dandy is a howling cheese. Hard 
cheese, what is barely endurable, hard 
lines, bad luck ; tip-cheese, probably 
Tip-cat (q.v.); cheese it I leave off! 
have done ! be off ! (1811). To make 
cheeses (Fr., faire des fromages), a 
schoolgirl's amusement : turning 
rapidly round and round, the figure- 
maker suddenly sinks to the floor, 
causing the petticoats to inflate some- 
what in the form of a cheese : also 
a deep curtsey (1867). See Bread, 
Chalk, Moon. 

Cheese-box. A Confederate nick- 
name for a vessel of the Monitor 
type (1860-65): cf. Tinclad. 

Cheese - cutter. 1. A prominent, 
aquiline nose : see Conk. 2. A large, 
square peak to a cap : Fr., Zouave 
abatjour. 3. In pi., bandy-legs : see 

Cheese - knife. A sword : also 

Cheesemongers. The First Life- 
guards. [Bestowed, it is said, on 
account of veterans declining to serve 
when the corps was remodelled in 
1788, on the ground that the ranks 
were no longer composed of gentle- 
man, but of cheesemongers.] Also 
The cheeses. 

Cheeser. An eructation. 

Cheeses. See Cheesemongers. 

Cheese - toaster. A sword. Eng- 
lish synonyms : Toasting-fork, toast- 
ing iron, sharp, knitting-needle, iron, 
cheese-knife, tool, poker (1785). 

Cheesy. Fine, showy: the reverse 
of dusty (q.v.) (1858). 

Chemiloon. Chemise and drawers 
in one, a combination (q.v.). 

Chepemens. Cheapside Market 

Cheque. To have seen the cheque, 
to know positively, be possessed of 
exact knowledge concerning a matter. 

Cherrilet A nipple (1599). 

Cherry. A young girl : cf. cherry 
ripe and rosebud. 

Cherry-breeches. See Cherubims. 

Cherry - coloured. Either red or 
black ; in allusion to a cheating trick 

at cards. [When cards are being dealt, 
a knowing one offers to bet that he 
will tell the colour of the turn-up card. 
Done, says Mr. Green. The sum 
being named, Mr. Sharp affirms that 
it will be cherry - colour ; and as 
cherries are either black or red, he wins 
(Qrose). Cherry -coloured cat, one either 
black or white in colour (1785). 

Cherry- merry. 1. Convivial, 
slightly inebriated: see Screwed 
(1602). 2. A present of money. 
Cherry-merry-bamboo, a beating. 

Cherry-pickers. See Cherubims. 

Cherry-pie. A girl. 

Cherry-ripe. 1. A woman : also 
cherry-pipe. 2. A Redbreast (q.v.), 
Bow Street runner. A scarlet waist- 
coat formed part of the uniform. 3. 
A footman in red plush. 4. A pipe. 

Cherubims (vulgo, Cherry-bums). 
1. The Eleventh Hussars. [From the 
crimson overalls.] Also Cherry- 
breeches and Cherry - pickers. 2. 
Peevish children : an allusion to the Te 
Deum, To Thee cherubin and seraphin 
continually do cry. 3. Chorister boys. 
To be in the cherubims, to be in good 
humour, in the clouds, unsubstantial, 
fanciful (1542). 

Cheshire - cat To grin lite a 
Cheshire cat [chewing gravel, eating 
cheese], to laugh broadly, all over one's 
face (1782). 

Chest. To chuck out one's chest, 
to pull oneself together, stand firm, 
keep a stiff upper lip. 

Chestnut. A stale joke or story, 
an old ' Joe,' something frequently 
said or done before. 

Chete. See Cheat 

Chew. A small portion of tobacco, 
a quid. To chew oneself, to get angry ; 
to chew the cud, to chew tobacco ; also 
to think, to turn over in one's mind 
to chew the rag (or fat), to grumble. 

Chewallop ! Onomatopoeia : re- 
presenting, it is thought, the sound of 
an object falling heavily to the ground 
or into water: see Cachunk (1835). 

Chewre. To steal. 

Chic. Finish, elegance, spirit, dash 
style any quality which marks a per- 
son or thing as superior. [Originally a 
French slang term of uncertain origin, 
Littre being inclined to trace it to chic- 
ane, tact or skill. The French chic 
originally signified subtlety, cunning, 
skill ; and, among English painters, to 
chic up a picture, or to do a thing from 




chic, to work without models and out 
of one's own head] (1856). As adj., 
stylish, elegant, up to Dick. 

Chickabiddy. A young girl : cf. 
Chick-woman (Much Ado, i. iii.). 

Chickaleary-cove (or bloke). An 
artful member, a downy cove (q.v.). 

Chicken. A pint pot : cf. hens 
and chickens, and cat and kittens 
(1851). No chicken, elderly (1720); 
to count one's chickens before they are 
hatched, to reckon beforehand upon 
a successful issue (the Latins said, 
Don't sing your song of triumph 
before you have won the victory 
ante victoriamcanere triumphum) 

Chicken - butcher. A poulterer ; 
also (sporting), any one shooting im- 
mature game (1811). 

Chicken-fixings. Properly a hash, 
stew, or fricassee of chicken, but the 
term is now applied to any fare out 
of the common ; also to show of any 
kind : Fr., gueulardise : cf. common 

Chicken-flesh. Goose-flesh (q.v.). 

Chicken-pecked. Governed by a 
child : cf. hen-pecked. 

Chicken-thief. A petty thief. 

Chi-ike (or Chy-ack). A street 
salute, a word of praise (1869). Also 
as verb, to salute or hail, and (tailors') 
to chaff unmercifully. To give chi-ike 
with the chill off, to scold. 

Child. See This child. Also in 

Eroverbs and proverbial phrases, The 
urnt child dreads the fire (1400). 
The child unborn (a type of inno- 
cence. Children, drunkards, and fools 
cannot lie. Once an old man, twice 
a child. Many kiss the child for the 
nurse's sake. 

Child-crowing. Croup. 

Child-geared. Childish, silly. 

Child - queller. A severe discip- 

Children' s-shoes. See Make. 

Chill (or take the chill off). 
To warm. With the chill off, an ex- 
pression of (1) dissent, (2) depreciation, 
or (3) disbelief : cf. over the left (q.v.). 

Chime. To praise, extol, puff, 
canoodle (q.v.), especially with a view 
to personal advantage. To chime in, 
to agree, endorse, spec, to break into 
an argument with a note of approval : 
also to chime in with (1838). 

Chimney. A great smoker : Fr., 

Chimney - chops. A negro : see 

Chimney-pot. The silk hat worn 
by men, and sometimes by women 
on horseback : beaver, bell- topper, 
etc., but see Golgotha : Fr., cheminee 

Chimney - sweep. 1. A black 
draught : cf. custom - house officer. 
2. A clergyman : vice versa sweep = 

Chin. A child. As verb, to talk, 
chatter : spec, to talk loudly, impu- 
dently, or abusively. To hold up by 
the chin, to support, encourage, save 
from disaster (1562) ; of the first chin, 
with sprouting beard ; up to the chin, 
deeply engaged, involved, over head 
and ears. 

Chinas. Eastern Extension Aus- 
tralasian and China Telegraph Shares. 

Chin-chopper. A drive under the 
chin : see Dig. 

Chinese - compliment. Seeming 
deference to others, one's mind being 
already made up. 

Chink. Generic for money, ready 
cash : also chinkers, or jink : see 
Rhino (1557). 

Chinker. In pi., handcuffs : see 

Chin - music. Talk, chatter, ora- 
tory : also chin-wag : Fr., casser un 
mot. Chinning, talking, chatting ; 
chinny, talkative : see Chin. 

Chin qua soldi. Fivepence : Ital. 

Chinse (Winchester). A chance. 

Chip. 1. An item of news : spec, a 
local (q.v.). 2. A reporter who col- 
lects chips. 3. A sovereign : see 
Rhino. As verb, to understand : see 
Twig. To chip in, to contribute one's 
share in money or kind, join in an 
undertaking, interpose smartly ; not 
to care a chip, to care naught, not 
even the value of a counter : see Cent, 
Fig, Rap, Straw, etc. ; brother chip, 
brother smut, one of the same trade 
or profession ; chip of the same (or the 
same old) block, a person reproduc- 
ing certain familiar or striking char- 
acteristics ; chip in porridge, broth, 
a thing of no moment, nonentity 
(1686). Also Chip, & man or thing : 
a bloke, cove, cheat (1628). 

Chipper. Fit, active, ready to 
chip in. 

Chippy, unwell, seedy : usually of 
over-indulgence hi eating, drinking, 




Chips. 1. A carpenter (1785). 2. 
Counters used in games of chance : cf. 
checks. 3. Cards. 4. Money. 5. 
( Wellington College). A kind of grill : 
from its hardness. To hand in one't 
chips, to die. 

Chirp. To talk : spec, to inform 

Chirper. 1. A singer. 2. A glass 
or tankard ( 1 802). 3. The mouth : see 
Potato trap. 4. A stage door black- 
mailer: if money be refused them, they 
go into the auditorium and hoot, hiss, 
and groan at the performer. 

Chirping-merry. Exhilarated with 
liquor (Grose). 

Chirpy. Cheerful, likely (1837). 

Chirrup, verb (music-hall). To 
cheer or applaud a public singer, 
speaker, etc., for a consideration : FT., 
daguer. Hence chirruper and chirrup- 

Chisel (Chizzle, or Chuzzle). 
To cheat, defraud, swindle ( Jamieson) 
(1808). Hence, chiselling, cheating. 
To go full chisel, to go full speed, or 
full drive, show intense earnestness, 
use great force, go off brilliantly 

Chit 1. A letter (1785), corrup- 
tion of a Hindoo word. 2. An order 
for drinks : in clubs, etc. 3. A girl : 
under age and undersized. 4. Food 
eaten in the hand : aa a thumber 
(q.v.), a workman's lunch, and a 
child's piece (q.v.). 

Chit-chat Chatter, familiar con- 
versation : cf. tittle - tattle, bibble- 
babble, etc. [Johnson: only used in 
ludicrous conversation.] 

Chitterlings. Shirt frills : cf. 
Ger., Gekrose. 

Chitty. An assistant tailor's cutter 
or trimmer. 

Chitty - faced. Thin, weazened, 
baby-faced (1601). 

Chiv. See Chive. 

Chive (or Chiv). A knife. Eng- 
lish synonyms : Arkansas toothpick 
(a bowie knife), cabbage - bleeder, 
whittle, gully, jockteleg (a clasp knife : 
a corruption of Jacques de Liege) 
snickersnee (nautical), cuttle, cuttle- 
bung, pig-sticker (1674). As verb, to 
stab, to knife (q.v.) 

Chive - fencer. A street hawker 
of cutlery. 

C h i v e y (or Chivvy). A shout, 
greeting, cheer : cf. Chi-ike. As 
verb, to guy (q.v.), chase round, 

hunt about, throw or pitch about 

Chiving-lay. Cutting the braces of 
coaches behind, whereupon, the coach- 
man quitting the box, an accomplice 
broke and robbed the boot Also 
cutting through the back of the coach 
to snatch the large and costly wigs 
then fashionable (Grose). 

Chivy (or Chevy). The face. As 
verb, to scold, bullyrag. 

Choakee. See Chokey. 

Chock. To strike a person under 
the chin. 

Checker. A man : generally old 
checker, but not necessarily in con- 

Chocolate. To give chocolate with- 
out sugar, to reprove (Grose). 

Choke- doe. Cheese ; especially 
hard cheese made in Devonshire. 

Choke. To choke off, to get rid of, 
put a stop to, run contrary to. English 
synonyms, to shut off, shunt, fub off, 
rump, cold shoulder (1818). 

Choker. 1. A cravat ; spec, the 
large neckerchief once worn high round 
the neck ; also white choker (q.v.), the 
neckgear peculiar to evening dress. 
English synonyms : neckinger, tie (now 
technical, but formerly slang), crum- 
pler (1845). 2. An all-round collar: 
cf. all-rounder. 3. A garotter ; see 
Wind-stopper. 4. Prison, lock up, 
quod : see Chokey. 5. The hangman s 
rope, squeezer, halter. White-choker, 
a parson. 

Chokey (Choky, Chokee, or 
Checker). 1. A prison. Queen's (or 
King's) Chokey, the Queen's (or King's) 
Bench Prison : obe. 2. A cell : spec, 
a punishment cell. 

Chonkey. A species of mince-meat 
cake (1851). 

Chop. 1. A blow : once (sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries) literary, 
and still respectable in some senses: 
e.g. a chopping (i.e. beating) sea, 2. 
An exchange, barter, and as verb, to 
barter, buy and sell, change tactics, 
veer from one side to the other, 
vacillate : see Chop, verb (1485) ; e.g. 
to chop logic, to give argument for 
argument ; to chop stories, to cap one 
anecdote with another. 3. To change 
quarters : e.g. the wind chopped 
round to the north (1554). 4. To eat 
a chop (1841). Chop and change, ups 
and downs, vicissitudes, changes of 
fortune (1759) ; to chop the whiners, to 




say prayers : FT., manger sa paillasse. 
See First chop, Second chop. 

Chop-chop. Immediately, 

Chopper. 1. A blow, struck on the 
face with the back of the hand. Men- 
doza claims the honour of its inven- 
tion, but unjustly ; he certainly re- 
vived, and considerably improved it. 
It was practised long before our time 
Brougham occasionally used it ; and 
Slack, it also appears, struck the 
chopper in giving the return in many 
of his battles. 2. A sausage maker. 
To have a chopper (or button) on, to be 
miserable, down in the dumps, in a fit 
of the blues. 

Chopping. Wanton, forward. 

Chopping - block. A man who 
takes an immense amount of punish- 
ment (q.v.) in fight without the science 
or the strength to return it. 

Chops. To lick the chops, to anti- 
cipate a matter with zest or relish 
(1655) ; down in the chops (or mouth), 
Bad, melancholy : see Chopper (1830). 

Chortle. To chuckle, laugh in 
one's sleeve, snort. [Introduced by 
Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking 

Chosen Twelve. See Apostles. 

Chuck-farthing (Chuck, Chuck- 
and - toss, or Pitch - and - toss). A 
game played with money, which is 
pitched at a line, gathered, shaken in 
the hands, and tossed up into the air so 
as to fall heads and tails until the 
stakes are guessed away : a parish 
clerk was formerly named chuck-far- 
thing (1690). 

Chucking-out. Ejection. 

Chucks. A boy's signal on a 
master's approach. Fr., Vesse I 

Chuff it. Be off ! Take it away ! 

Chum. 1. A close companion, a 
bosom friend, intimate. Formerly a 
chamber-fellow or mate. [Johnson : 
a term used in the Universities.] 
(1684). English synonyms: gossip, 
pal, pard (American), marrow (north- 
country), cully (theatrical), cummer, 
ben cull, butty, bo' (nautical), mate or 
matey, ribstone, bloater. 2. A 
brother-in-arms. As verb, to occupy a 
joint lodging, or share expenses, on 
the closest terms of intimacy with 
another, to be ' thick as thieves,' or 
' thick as hops ' : Fr., etre dans la 
chemise de quelqu'un, du dernier bien 
avec quelqu'un (1730). New chum, 

a new arrival in a colony, greenhorn, 
tenderfoot (q.v.) (1861). 

Chummage. Money procured by 
chumming together ; but various ex- 
tensions of meaning appear to have 
been in vogue at different periods. 
Thus (1) quartering two or more 
collegians in one room, and allowing 
the richest to pay his companions a 
stipulated sum to go out and find 
quarters elsewhere. (2) Money paid 
by the richer sort of prisoners in the 
Fleet and King's Bench to the poorer 
for their share of a room ... A 
prisoner who can pay for being alone, 
chooses two poor chums, who for a 
stipulated price, called chummage, give 
up their share of the room (Grose). 

Chummery. Chumhood ; also 
quarters occupied by chums. 

Chummy. 1. A chimney-sweep's 
climbing boy. [A corruption of 
chimney through chumley] (1635). 

2. A diminutive form of chum 
(q.v.) 3. A low-crowned felt hat: 
see Golgotha. As adj., very inti- 
mate, friendly, sociable : Fr., chouette, 
chouettard, chouettaud. 

Chump. 1. A blockhead. 2. A 
variant of chum : Fr., vieitte branche. 

3. The head : spec, in the phrase off 
one's chump (q.v.) : see Crumpet. 
Chump of wood, no good : also a block- 
head ; off one's chump, insane ; to get 
one's own chump, to earn one's own 

Chunk. 1. A thick piece, lump : 
of wood, bread, coaL etc. (1691). 2. 
school-board officer. 

Church. To take out the works of 
a watch and substitute another set, so 
that identification is impossible ( 1859). 
To talk church : see Talk ; to talk shop, 
see Shop ; to go to church, to get married. 

Churchwarden. A clay pipe with 
a long stem. English synonyms, 
alderman, steamer, yard of clay. 

Churl. To put a churl upon a 
gentleman : see Gentleman. 

Cider. Att talk and no cider, pur- 
poseless loquacity, much cry and little 
wool, much ado about nothing. 

Cider-and. Cider mixed with some 
other ingredient : cf. cold without, 
hot with, etc. (1742). 

Cig. A cigar : see Weed. 

Cinch. To get a grip on, corner, 
put the screw on : also, in the passive 
sense, to come out on the wrong side 
in speculations. 




Cincinnati- olive. A pig. [A 
spurious olive oil is manufactured 
from lard, and Cincinnati is one of the 
largest centres of the pork - packing 
industry in America.] Cincinnati 
oyster, a pig's trotter. 

Cinder. 1. Any strong liquor, as 
brandy, whisky, sherry, etc., mixed 
with a weaker, as soda-water, lemon- 
ade, water, etc., to fortify it. 2. A 
running path or track. 

Cinder - gar bier. A female ser- 
vant (Grose). English synonyms : mar- 
chioness, slavey, cinder-grabber, cin- 
derella, can (Scots), piss-kitchen, Julia. 

Circle. To give the lie in circle, to 
lie indirectly, circuitous! y (1610). 

Circling- boy. A swindler, rook. 
[Nares : a species of roarer ; one who 
in some way drew a man into a snare, 
to cheat or rob him.] 

Circs. Circumstances. 

Circumbendibus. A roundabout, 
spec, a long-winded, story (1681). 

Circumlocution - office. A centre 
of red-tape, a roundabout way. A 
term invented by Charles Dickens and 
applied at first in ridicule to public 
offices, where everybody tries to 
shuffle off his responsibilities upon 
some one else.] 

Circumslogdologize. See Stock- 

Circumstance. Not a circum- 
stance, etc., not to be compared with, 
a trifle, of no account unfavourable 
comparison. To whip [something] 
into a circumstance, to surpass. 

Circus- cuss. A circus-rider. 

Citizen. A wedge for prising 
open safes : used before the alderman 
(q.v.) or jemmy (q.v.) are brought 
into play. Whence citizen's- friend, a 
smaller wedge than the citizen. The 
order in which the tools are used is 
(1) citizen's friend, (2) citizen, (3) the 
alderman (i.e. a jemmy), and some- 
times (4) a Lord mayor. 

City College. Newgate ; in New 
York, The Tombs : see Cage. 

City-stage. The gallows : for- 
merly in front of Newgate : see Nub- 
bing cheat. 

Civil Reception. See House of 
Civil Reception. 

Civil-rig. A trick to obtain alms 
by a profuse show of civility and 

Civvies. Civilian clothes, as 
opposed to regimentals. 

Clack. 1. Idle or loquacious talk, 
gossip, prattle (1440). As verb, to 
gabble. 2. The tongue. A more 
ancient form was clap, dating back to 
1225. English synonyms: glib, red- 
rag, clapper, bubber, velvet, jibb, 
quail - pipe. Hence, clack - box, (1) 
the mouth : see Potato-trap. (2) A 

Clack-loft A pulpit 

Claim. To steal : see Prig. To 
jump a claim, to take forcible posses- 
sion, to defraud : specifically to seize 
land which had been taken up and 
occupied by another settler, or squat- 
ter (1846). 

Clam. 1. A blockhead : cf. Shakes- 
peare (Much Ado, ii. iii.), 'Love may 
transform me to an oyster ; but I'll 
take my oath on it, till he hath made 
an oyster of me, he shall never make 
me such a fool.' 2. The mouth or 
lips : also clam-shell : Shut your clam- 
shell, shut your mouth. The padlock 
now used on the United States mail- 
bags is called the clam-shell padlock. 
See Potato-trap. (1825). 

Clam- butcher. A man who opens 
clams ; the attendant at an oyster bar 
is an Oyster butcher. 

Clink. A pewter tankard : for- 
merly a silver one (1785). 

Clinker. 1. A great lie (Grose): 
see Whopper. 2. Silver plate : whence 
clink-napper, a thief whose speciality 
was silver plate. 

Clap (or Clapper). 1. The 
tongue ( 1225). 2. To dap eyes on, to get 
a sight of, spot (q.v.) ; to clap on, to 
apply oneself with energy, set to, peg 

Clapper - dudgeon. A whining 
beggar (1567). 

Clap-of-thunder. A glass of gin : 
see Flash of lightning (1821). 

Clap-shoulder. A sheriffs officer, 
bum-bailiff (1630). 

Claras. Caledonian Railway De- 
ferred and Ordinary Stock. 

Claret Blood : variants are bad- 
minton, bordeaux, and cochineal-dye : 
FT., vermeil (or vermois) (1604). To 
tap one's claret, to draw blood. Hence, 
claret jug, the nose. 

Clarian (Cambridge University). 
A member of Clare Hall, Cambridge : 
see Greyhound. 

Class. The highest quality or com- 
bination of highest qualities among 
athletes. He's not class enough, i.e. 




not good enough. There's a deal of 
class about him, i.e. a deal of quality. 

Claw. A lash of the cat-o'-nine- 
tails : hence clawed off, severely beaten ; 
daws for breakfast, a bout of the cat 

Claw-hammer. A dress coat : also 
steel-pen coat and swallow-tail. 

Clay. A clay pipe : cf. Yard of 
clay. To moisten (soak or wet) one's 
day, to drink (1718). 

Clean. 1. Entirely, altogether, e.g. 
clean gone, clean broke, etc. 2. Expert, 
smart. To dean out, to exhaust, strip, 
rack, or ruin : Fr., se faire lessiver. 

Clean - potato. The right thing : 
of an action indiscreet or dishonest, it 
is said that It's not the clean potato. 

Clean-straw (Winchester College). 
Clean sheets. [Before 1540 the beds 
were bundles of straw on a stone floor. 
At that date Dean Fleshmonger put 
in oaken floors, and provided proper 
beds, such as existed in 1871 in Third, 
and later in the case of the Prefect of 
Hall's unused beds in Sixth. The 
term has never been used in reference 
to mattresses of any kind, straw or 

Clean- wheat. Ifs the dean wheat, 
i.e. the best of its kind : see Al. 

Clear. (1) Thick with liquor. [Ap- 
parently on the lucus a non lucendo 
principle.] (1688). Clear as mud, 
not particularly lucid ; to dear out (or 
off), to depart (1825) ; (2) to rid of 
cash, ruin, clean out (1849). 

Clear - crystal. White spirits, as 
gin and whisky, but also extended to 
brandy and rum. 

Clear-grit. 1. (Canadian). A 
member of the colonial Liberal party. 
2. (American). The right sort, having 
no lack of spirit, unalloyed, decided. 

Cleave. To wanton. 

Clegg. A horse-fly. 

Clencher. See Clincher. 

Clergyman. A chimney - sweep : 
see Chimney-sweep. St. Nicholas' derk 
(or dergyman), a highwayman (1589). 

Clerked. Imposed upon, sold 
(q.v.) (1785). 

Clerk's blood. Red ink : a com- 
mon expression of Charles Lamb's. 

Clever-shins. One who is sly to 
no purpose. 

Cleyme. An artificial sore : made 
by beggars to excite charity. 

Click. A blow : also a hold in 
wrestling (1819). As verb, to stand 

at a shop-door and invite customers 
in, as salesmen and shoemakers do 
(Dycke). To dick a nab, to snatch 
a hat. 

Clicker (or Klicker). 1. A shop- 
keeper's tout. [Formerly a shoe- 
maker's doorsman or barker (q.v.), 
but in this particular trade the term 
is nowadays appropriated to a fore- 
man who cuts out leather and dis- 
penses materials to workpeople ; a 
sense not altogether wanting from 
the very first] (1690). 2. A knock- 
down blow. 3. One who apportions 
the booty or ' regulars.' 

Clift. To steal : see Prig. 

Climb. To dimb down, to abandon 
a position : as subs., downward or re- 
trograde emotion, the act of surrender. 

Clinching. A prison cell : hence to 
get (or kiss) the dinch (or dink), to be 

Clincher (or Clencher). 1. That 
which decides a matter : spec, a 
retort which closes an argument, a 
finisher, settler, corker (1754). 2. 
An unsurpassed lie, stopper-up : see 

Cling-rig. See Clink-rig. 

Clink. 1. A prison, lock-up ; spec, 
applied, it is thought, to a noted gaol 
in the borough of Southwark ; subse- 
quently to places like Alsatia, the 
Mint, etc. privileged from arrests ; 
and latterly, to a small dismal prison, 
or a military guard room (1525) : see 
Cage. 2. Silver plate : also Clinch 
(1781). 3. Money: cf. Chink (1724). 
4. A very indifferent beer made from 
the gyle of malt and the sweepings of 
hop bins, and brewed especially for the 
benefit of agricultural labourers in 
harvest time : also barn - clink. To 
kiss the dink, to be imprisoned 

Clinker. 1. In pi., fetters (1690). 
2. A crafty, designing man (1690). 3. 
A chain of any kind : fetter or watch 
chain. 4. A well - delivered blow, a 
hot-'un. 5. Any thing or person of 
first - rate and triumphant quality : 
also clincher, a settler (1733). 6. A 
lie : see Whooper. 

Clinkerum. See Clink. 

Clinking. First-rate, extra good, 
about the best possible : cf. clipping, 
thumping, whooping, rattling, etc. 

Clink-rig (or Cling-rig). Stealing 
silver tankards (1681). 

Clip. A smart blow : e.g. a clip 




in the eye. As verb, to move quickly 

Clipe. To tell tales, split, to 
preach (q.v.). 

Clipper. A triumph in horses, 
men, or women (1836). 

Clipping (or Clippingly). Excel- 
lent, very showy, first-rate. See Al. 

Cloak. A watch case. 

Cloak-twitcher. A cloak thief : Fr., 
tirelaine (i.e. wool-puller) : see Thief. 

Clobber. Primarily old, but now 
applied to clothes of any kind. As 
verb (or to clobber up) (1) to patch, 
revive, or ' translate ' clothes. Old 
clothes that are intended to remain in 
this country have to be tutored and 
transformed. The clobberer, the re- 
viver, and the translator lay hands 
upon them. The duty of the clob- 
berer is to patch, to sew up, and to 
restore as far as possible the gar- 
ments to their pristine appearance. (2) 
To dress smartly, rig oneself out pre- 
sentably (1879). To do clobber at a 
fence, to sell stolen clothes : Fr., laver 
let harnais. 

Clock. A watch. A red dock, 
a gold watch ; a while clock, a silver 
watch : usually red 'un and white 
'un. To know who? a o'clock, to be on 
the alert, in full possession of one's 
senses, a downey cove : generally 
knowing (q.v.). Also to know the 
timeo' day (1835). 

Clod-crusher. 1. A clumsy boot. 
2. A large foot. 3. A country yokel : 
see Clodhopper. 

Cloister - roush (Winchester Col- 
lege : obsolete). There were some 
singular customs at the commence- 
ment of Cloister time. Senior part 
and Cloisters, just before the entrance 
of the Masters into School, used 
to engage in a kind of general 
tournament ; this was called Cloister 

Clootie. The DeviL 

Cloots. Hooves (1786). 

Close. Close as toax, miserly, 
niggardly, secretive. 

Close - file. A person secretive or 
close ; not open, or communica- 

Cloth. The cloth, generic for 
clergymen, also the members of any 
particular profession. 

Clothes-line. Able to sleep upon 

a clothes -line, capable of sleeping any- 
where or in any position : of those 
able and willing to rest as well upon 
the roughest shake - down as upon 
the most comfortable bed. [Cf. Two- 
penny-rope and Plank-bed.] Also 
in a transferred sense, a synonym for 
general capacity and ability. 

Clothes - pin. That's the sort of 
clothes-pin I am, that's the sort of 
man I am : also of women : That's the 
tort of hair-pin (q.v.). 

Cloth-market. A bed : FT., haUe, 
aux drops (1710). 

Cloud. See Blow a cloud. 

Cloud-cleaner. An imaginary sail 
jokingly assumed to be carried by 
Yankee ships : cf. Angel's footstool 

Clout. 1. A blow, a kick, whence 
clouting, a beating, basting, tanning 
(q.v.) : see Bang, Dig, and Wipe (1783). 
2. A pocket-handkerchief (1621). 3. 
A woman's under-clothes, from the 
waist downwards : also her complete 
wardrobe, on or off her person. 4. A 
woman's ' bandage,' diaper,' or 
' sanitary.' As verb, ( 1) to strike : Fr., 
jeter une mandole (1576) ; (2) to patch, 

Clouter. A pickpocket : spec, a 
handkerchief thief. Also as verb, to 
prig a wipe (q.v.). 

Clover. In clover, well-off, com- 
fortable, like a horse at grass in a 
clover field. 

Clow (Winchester College). Pro- 
nounced do : a box on the ear. Also as 
verb, to box the ear : it was customary 
to preface the actiou by an injunction 
to Hold down. 

Clowe. A rogue (Grose). 

Cloy (Cligh, or Cly). To steal: 
see Prig (1610). As subs., a thief : cf. 
Clow. Cloying, stealing. 

Cloyer. A thief who intruded on 
the profits of young sharpers, by 
claiming a share (1611). 

Club. In manoeuvring troops, so 
to blunder the word of command that 
the soldiers get into a position from 
which they cannot extricate them- 
selves by ordinary tactics. 

Clump. A blow : spec, a thumper 
with the hand. As verb, to strike, 
give a heavy blow t Fr., faire du bi fleck. 

dumper. 1. A thick, heavy boot 
for walking : see Clump, verb, and 
Clumping. 2. One that clumps, a 

Clumperton. A countryman. 




Clumping. Walking heavily and 
noisily : as in hobnails or in clogs. 

C 1 y. LA pocket, purse, sack, or 
basket (1714). 2. Money : old cant 
(1748). As verb, to take, have, re- 
ceive, pocket, to cop (q.v.) (1567). 
To dy off, to carry off : spec, in a sur- 
reptitious manner (1656). To dy the 
jerk (or gerke), to get a whipping ( 1567). 

Cly-faker. A pickpocket : see Cly 
and Fake. 

Clyster- pipe. An apothecary 

Co. 1. A man (Old Cant). 2. 
Short for Company, County. 

Coach. 1. A private tutor ; also 
in a transferred sense one who trains 
another in mental or physical ac- 
quirements, e.g. in Sanskrit, Shakes- 
peare, cricket, or rowing : analogous 
terms are crammer, feeder, grinder, 
etc. (1850). Also as verb, to prepare 
for an examination by private instruc- 
tion, to train : in general use both by 
coacher and coachee (1846). Coach- 
ing, special instruction, training, 
grinding (q.v.) : Fr., barbe. 2. The 
people in a coach. To drive a coach 
and four (or six) through an Act of 
Parliament, to make the law a dead 
letter, take the law into one's own 
hands (1700). 

Coachee. A coachman : cf. Cabby. 
See Coach. (1790). 

Coach - fellow. A companion, 
mate (1598). 

Coaching. 1. (Rugby School). A 
flogging : obsolete. 2. See Coach. 3. 
(commercial). Putting up to pretended 
auction, thereby hoping to receive 
fancy prices by fictitious bidders. 

Coachman. A fly-fisher's rod. 

Coach-wheel. A crown-piece, five 
shillings : also (B. E.)=2s. 6d. : see 
Cartwheel (1785). To turn coach 
wheels (see Cartwheels). 

Coach-whip. 1. A long thin strap. 
Also, 2. in pi., shreds, tatters. 

Coal. See Cole. To take in one's 
coals (or winter coals), to contract 
venereal disease. Precious coal I an 
obsolete exclamation (1596) ; to carry 
(or bear) coals, to do dirty work ; to 
haul over the coals, to reprimand ; to 
carry coals to Newcastle, to do the 
superfluous ; black as a coal, as black 
as may be (1000) ; to heap (cast, etc.) 
coals of fire, to produce remorse by 
returning good for evil (Rom. xli. 20) ; 
to blow the coals, to fan the passions ; 

to blow hot coals, to rage ; to stir coals, 
to excite strife ; to blow at a cold coal, 
to undertake a hopeless task. 

Coal - blower. An alchemist, or 
quack : in contempt. 

Coal - box. A chorus : obviously 
' music-hally ' or ' circussy ' : a cross 
between rhyming slang and a clown's 
wheeze (q.v.) (1809). 

Coal- carrier. A low dependant 
(1565) ; cf. to carry coals. 

Coaley. A coal-heaver, or porter. 

Coaling (or Coally). Among ' pros,' 
a coally or coaling part is one that is 
acceptable to the player. 

Coal- scuttle. A poke bonnet : 
once modish, later reserved for old- 
fashioned Quakeresses, and now ob- 
solete except with Hallelujah Lasses 

Coarse-account. To make of coarse 
account, to slight (1579). 

Coat. Cloth (q.v.), profession, 
party : common hi seventeenth cen- 
tury. See Tread. To get the sun into 
a horse's coat, to improve its condition 
by feeding, exercise, etc. ; a trainer's 
term, to express fitness. Phrases, etc. : 
To baste (coil, or pay) one's coat, to 
thrash, tan (1530) ; to be in any one's 
coat, in any one's place, stand in one's 
shoes (1569) ; to cut the coat according 
to the doth, to adapt oneself to circum- 
stances ; to turn one's coat : see Turn- 
coat ; to wear the king's coat, to serve 
as a soldier. To sit on one's own coat- 
tail, to live or do anything at one's per- 
sonal expense ; Who'll tread on the 
tail of my coat ? (attributed to Irishmen 
at Donnybrook Fair), to purposely 
assume a position in which some one 
may intentionally or unintentionally 
afford a pretext for a quarrel, provoke 
attack so as to get up a row ; / would 
not be in some of (heir coats for (any 
definite or indefinite sum), proverbial : 
cf. (modern) I would not stand in 
So-and-so's shoes (1549) ; Near is my 
coat, but nearer is my shirt (or skin), 
proverbial (1539). 

Coax. 1. To dissemble in the 
shoes the soiled or ragged parts of a 
pair of stockings (Grose). 2. Orig. 
to befool, whence to gull by petting, 
wheedle, flatter. [Johnson : A low 
word.] As subs. (1) a wheedler : also 
coaxer ; (2) wheedling. 

Cob. 1. A punishment cell : see 
Clinch. 2. In pi., generic for money: 
spec, a Spanish coin formerly current 



in Ireland, worth about 4s. 8d : also 
the name still given at Gibraltar to a 
Spanish dollar (1805). 3. (Winchester 
College). A hard hit at cricket : of 
modern introduction : cf. Barter. 4. 
A chief, a leader. 5. A wealthy man : 
hence a miser. 6. A huge lumpish 
person. 7. A testicle. As verb, ( 1 ) to 
hit hard: cf. Cobb ; (2) To detect, 
catch, etc. (3) To humbug, deceive, 
gammon (q.v.) : whence, cobbled, 
caught, spotted (q.v.). 

Cobb. To spank, smack the pos- 
teriors with (say) a tailor's sleeve- 
board, fives- bat, etc. (1830). 

Cobber. A prodigious falsehood, 
a thumper, a whopper (q.v.). 

Cobble - colter. A turkey : Fr., 
orne de batte, J (suite (1785). 

Cobblcrs'-knock (or Knock at the 
Cobbler's Door). A sort of fancy 
sliding in which the artist raps the 
ice in triplets with one foot while pro- 
gressing swiftly on the other (1836). 

Co b biers' -marbles. A corrupt 
pronunciation of Cholera morbus, or 
Asiatic cholera. 

Cobbler's-thumb. The bull-head, a 
small fish which in England is called 
the Miller's thumb. 

Cobble-text. A prosy person, 
ignorant preacher. 

Coblative. Cobbled, patched up. 

Cobweb-morning. A misty morn- 

Cobweb - throat. A dry parched 
throat, hence to have a cobweb in the 
throat, to feel thirsty. 

Cocard. An old fool, a simple- 
ton. Cocardy, folly. 

Cochineal-dye. Blood : see 
Claret (1853). 

Cock. 1. A chief or leader ; spec, 
in such phrases as Cock of the walk, 
school, etc. ; orig. a victor (1711). 
Hence, to cry cock, to acclaim a victor, 
acknowledge a chief, etc. 2. A familiar 
address : e.g. Old cock, or Jolly old 
cock: Fr., mon vieux zig, mon lapin 
( 1 639). 3. A horse not intended to win 
the race for which it is put down, but 
kept in the lists to deceive the public. 
4. A fictitious narrative in verse or 
prose of murders, fires, etc., produced 
for sale in the streets. [Famous 
manufactories of cocks were kept by 
' Jemmy ' Catnach and Johnny Pitts, 
called the Colburn and Bentley of 
the paper trade : hence anything 
fictitious or incredible.] 6. Cockney 

(q.v.). 6. In gambling or playing 
with ' quads,' a cock is when one (or 
more) of the nine pieces does not fall 
flat, but lodges crosswise on another : 
the player is then given another 
chance. 7. A night watchman, and fig. 
a parson. 8. Good cock (or poor cock), 
a good (or bad) workman. As adj., 
chief, first and foremost (1676). As 
verb, to smoke. To cock the eye, to 
shut or wink one eye, leer, look in- 
credulous : Fr., cligner desceUlets: cf. 
Cock-eyed : also to cock the chin : Fr., 
a'aborgner (literally, to make oneself 
blind of one eye by closing it) (1751) ; 
to cock up one's toes, to die ; That cock 
won't light, that will not do (or, go 
down) ; of things problematical or 
doubtful ; knocked a cock, knocked 
' all of a heap,' or ' out of time.' Also 
proverbs and proverbial phrases : 
Every cock is king on his own midden 
(1225); The young cock learneth to 
crow of the old (1509) : also, as the old 
cock crows so does the chick (1589). 

Cock-a-doodle-do. A conventional 
representation of the crow of the cock ; 
a name for this, and hence, a nursery 
or humorous name for the cock (also 
Cock-a-doodle). Also as verb. 

Cock-a-doodle Broth. Eggs beat 
up in brandy and a little water (1856). 

Cock-a-hoop (or Cock -on, or 
-in) a-hoop. Strutting ; triumphant ; 
high - spirited ; uppish. To set (the) 
cock on (the) hoop, cock a hoop, (1) to 
drink without stint, make good cheer 
with reckless prodigality ; also (2) as 
intj., an exclamation of reckless joy 
or elation, to abandon oneself to reck- 
less enjoyment, cast off restraint, 
become reckless, give a loose to all 
disorder, set all by the ears. 

Cockalare. A comic or ludicrous 
representation, a satire lampoon, a 
disconnected story, discourse, etc. 

Cockaloft. Affectedly lofty, 
stuck up. 

Cockall. One that beats all, the 
' perfection.' 

Cockalorum or Cockylorum. 

1. A contemptuous address of any- 
thing undersized and self-important. 

2. A rough - and - tumble game : the 
players divide into two opposing bands 
of from twelve to fourteen each in 
fact, the more the merrier. One side 
' goes down,' so as to constitute a long 
' hogsback ' the last boy having a 
couple of pillows between himself and 




the wall, and each boy clasping his 
front-rank man, and carefully tucking 
his own ' cocoa-nut ' under his right 
arm, so as to prevent fracture of the 
vertebrae. When the hogsback is thus 
formed, the other side comes on, leap- 
frogging on to the backs of those who 
are down, the best and steadiest 
jumpers being sent first. Sometimes 
the passive line is broken quite easily 
by the ruse of a short high jump, 
coming with irresistible impulse on a 
back not expecting weight. Some- 
times a too ambitious leap-frogger 
ruins his party by overbalancing and 
falling off. It is, however, as the last 
two or three leap-froggers come on 
that the real excitement more gener- 
ally begins. There is absolutely no 
back - space belonging to the other 
party left to them ; and they are 
obliged to pile themselves one upon 
another Pelion on Ossa, as it is 
called. When the last man is up it is 
his duty to say, ' High cockalorum 
jig Jig jig nigh cockalorum jig jig ijg 
high cockalorum jig jig jig off, off, 
off,' and then alone is it permissible to 
fall in one indistinguishable heap to 
the ground. The repeater of the 
shibboleth often falls off himself as he 
is uttering the above incantation 
thus losing the victory for his side. 

Cock - and - breeches. A sturdy, 
under- sized man, or boy. 

Cock-and-bull-story, subs, (collo- 
quial). An idle or silly story. [Pre- 
sumably from some old legend of a 
cock and a bull, a propos to which it 
should be noted that the French 
equivalent is coq-d-l'dne, a cock-and- 
ass] (1603). Hence, disconnected, 
misleading talk, incredible story, a 

Cock - and - hen - club, subs, (com- 
mon). 1. A free and easy (q.v.), a 
sing - song, where females are ad- 
mitted as well as males (1819). 2. A 
club for both sexes ; e.g. the Lyric. 

Cock-and- pinch. The old-fashioned 
beaver of forty years since. 

Cockapert. Impudent, saucy. As 
subs., a saucy fellow. 

Cockatoo - farmer (or Cockatoo). 
In Victoria and New South Wales a 
small farmer or selector : in contempt, 
and used by large holders of agri- 
cultural squatters with small capital 

Cockatrice. 1. A common pro- 

stitute ; also a mistress or ' keep ' 
(1600). 2. A baby. 

Cock-a-wax. 1. A cobbler : see 
Snob. 2. A familiar address. 

Cock- bawd. A male brothel keeper 

Cock-brain. A lighthearted, 
foolish person. Also cock - brained, 
thoughtless, silly. 

Cockchafer. The treadmill : see 
Wheel of life. 

Cocked. Half - cocked, full-cocked, 
etc. Various degrees of drunken- 
ness : see Screwed. 

Cocked-hat. Knocked into a 
cocked hat. Limp enough to be 
doubled up and carried flat under the 
arm [like the cocked hat of an officer]. 
Also, fig. stupefied, speechless. Syno- 
nyms : doubled up ; knocked into the 
middle of next week ; spifflicated ; 
beaten to a jelly ; knocked a-cock ; 
wiped out ; sent all of a heap ; bottled 
up ; settled ; full of beans, or snuff ; 
sent, done, or smashed to smithereens. 

Cocker. A pugilist, quarrel- 
some, contentious man, wrangler. 
According to Cocker, according to rule ; 
properly, arithmetically, or correctly 
done. [Old Cocker was a famous 
writing master in Charles II. 's time, 
and the author of a treatise on 
arithmetic : probably popularised by 
Murphy's The Apprentice (1756), in 
which the strong point of the old 
merchant Wingate is his extreme 
reverence for Cocker and his arith- 
metic.] In America, according to 
Gunter (q.v.). 

Cockerel. A pert young man. 

Cockerer. A wanton. 

Cock-eye. A squinting eye. Cock- 
eyed, squinting, boss-eyed (q.v.). 

Cock-fighting. That beats cock- 
fighting, phr. (common). A general 
expression of approval up to the 
mark ; Al ; That surpasses everything 
else. [From the esteem in which the 
sport was held.] (1659). To live 
like fighting-cocks, to have the best 
food and plenty of it, be supplied with 
the best. 

Cock-horse. Triumphant; in full 
swing ; cock-a-hoop. 

Cock-laird (Scots). A small 
farmer or proprietor cultivating his 
own land, a yeoman. 

Cockle. Whimsical. Hence, 
cockle-brained (headed, etc.), flighty, 
fanciful, whimmy. 


Cockles of the Heart. 


Cockles of the Heart. A jocose 
vulgarism encountered in a variety of 
combinations ; e.g. that will rejoice, 
or tickle, or warm, the cockles of your 
heart, etc. [It is suggested (N. and Q. , 
7 8., iv. 26) that a hint as to its origin 
may be found in Lower, an eminent 
anatomist of the seventeenth century, 
who thus speaks in his Tractates de 
Corde (1669), p. 25, of the muscular 
fibres of the ventricles : ' Fibre quidem 
rectis hisce exteri oribus in dextro 
ventriculo proxime subject* oblique 
dextrorsum ascendentes in basin cordis 
terminantur, et spirali suo ambitu 
helicein sive cochleam satis apte 
refcrunt.' The ventricles of the 
heart might, therefore, be called 
cochlea cordis, and this would easily 
be turned into Cockles of the heart.] 
Fr., Ifcheras la face (that'll rejoice 
the cockles of your heart) (1671). 
To cry cockles, to be hanged : see 

Cockloche. A mean fellow, silly 
coxcomb: a generic reproach (1611). 

Cock-loft. The head: cf. old 
proverb, All his gear is in his cock- 
loft ; i.e. All his wealth, work, or 
worth is in his head (1642). 

Cock-mate. A familiar, intimate, 
best friend. 

Cockney, subs, (colloquial). 
One born within the sound of Bow- 
bells. [The origin of cockney has 
been much debated ; but, says Dr. 
Murray, in the course of an exhaustive 
statement (Academy, May 10, 1890, 
p. 320), the history of the word, so far 
as it means a person, is very clear and 
simple. We have the senses (1) 
' cockered or pet child,' ' nestle-cock,' 
1 mother's darling,' ' milksop,' the 
name being applicable primarily to the 
child, but continued to the squeamish 
and effeminate man into which he 
grows up. (2) A nickname applied by 
country people to the inhabitants of 
great towns, whom they considered 
milksops,' from their daintier habits 
and incapacity for rough work. York, 
London, Perugia, were, according to 
Harman, all nests of cockneys. (3) 
By about 1600 the name began to be 
attached especially to Londoners, as 
the representatives par excellence of 
the city milksop. One understands 
the disgust with which a cavalier 
in 1641 wrote that he was ' obliged 
to quit Oxford at the approach 

of Essex and Waller, with their pro- 
digious number of cockneys.'] Hence, 
Cockney-shire, London. 

Cockpecked. Masculine home- 
rule : spec, of a tyrannical kind : cf. 

Cock quean. A man who interest* 
himself in women's affairs : a common 
form is cotquean. 

Cock-robin. A soft, easy fellow 

Cock-robin Shop. A small printing 
office : a place where the cheapest 
work is done at the lowest price : cf. 
Slop shop. 

Cock's - comb. 1. A cap as worn 
by a buffoon or professional fool. 2. 
The head. 3. A fop, conceited fool 

Cock's-egg. To send one for a cock's 
egg. To send on a fool's errand ; 
to gammon (q.v.) : cf. pigeon's milk, 
oil of strappum, strap oil, the squad 
umbrella, etc. 

Cock - shy. 1. A mark, butt, or 
target ; any person or thing that is 
the centre of jaculation (1834). 2. The 
establishment of a strolling proprie- 
tor, where sticks may be thrown at 
coconuts or the like, for payment. 

Cocksure. Confidently certain ; 
arrogantly sure. [Probably a corrup- 
tion of cocky sure.' Shakespeare 
( I Henry IV., n. L) employs the 
phrase in the sense of Sure as the 
cock of a firelock. We steal as in a 
castle, cocksure: and still earlier 
usages imply its derivation from the 
fact that the cock was much surer 
than the older - fashioned match.] 

Cocksy. Impudent, bumptious, 
saucy: cf. Cocky. 

Cocktail. 1. A prostitute ; a 
wanton. 2. A coward. 3. An up- 
start, one aping gentility. 4. (Ameri- 
can). A drink composed of spirits 
(gin, brandy, whisky, etc.), bitters, 
crushed ice, sugar, etc., the whole 
whisked briskly until foaming, and 
then drunk 'hot.' As adj., (1) under- 
bred, wanting in 'form' (chiefly of 
horses). (2) Fresh, foaming: of beer 
(see subs. 4). (3) (army). Unsoldier- 
like; anything) unworthy of the 
regular army, e.g. at one time the 
Volunteer auxiliaries were described 
as a cocktailed crew. 

Cock-up (printers'). A superior ; 
e.g. the smaller letters in the 
following examples : Y c Limt*- 




Compy- ; J no - Smith, Sen'- ; N ; 
London' : also a large - type initial 

Cocky (or Cocking). 1. Pert, saucy, 
forward, coolly audacious, over con- 
fident, 'botty' (1711). 2. (Stock 
Exchange). Brisk, active. As subs, 
(old), a term of endearment : see also 

Cockyolly-bird. A nursery endear- 
ment : of birds ; cf. dickey - bird, 

Cocoa-nut. The head : Fr., coco : 
see Crumpet (1834). That accounts 
for the milk in the cocoa-nut, a rejoinder 
upon having a thing explained. No 
milk in the cocoa nut, insane, silly, 

Cocum (Kocum). 1. Shrewdness, 
ability, luck, cleverness. [Yiddish.] 
2. (publishers'). A sliding scale of 

Cfit. [Publishers sometimes issue 
ks without fixing the published 
price, leaving the retailer to make 
what he can.] To fight or play cocum, 
to play double, be wary, cunning, 
artful (1857). 

Cod. 1. Apparently orig. generic 
for a man : cf. bloke, cove, fellow, etc. 
Hence in several specialised senses : 
e.g. 2. A fool, a humbug, an imposi- 
tion (B. E.), and as verb, to hoax, 
chaff, take a rise out of. 3. A pal, or 
friend ; generally prefixed to a sur- 
name ; at Charterhouse, a pensioner 
(see Thackeray, Newcomes, ii. 333). 
[Here cod probably = ' codUn,' an old 
endearment.] 4. A purse ; a cod of 
money, a large sum of money. [A.S. 
cod or codd, a small bag.] 

Coddam (or Coddom). A game 
played three, four, or more a side. 
The only ' property ' required is a 
coin, a button, or anything which can 
be hidden in the clenched hand. The 
principle is simplicity itself ' Guess 
whose hand it's in.' If the guesser 
' brings it home,' his side takes the 

S'eoe, and the centre man works it. 
the guess be wrong, a chalk is taken 
to the holders, who go on again. 

Codding. Nonsense, humbug, 
chaff : see Cod. 

Codger. A familiar address, 
especially old codger, a curious old 
fellow, odd fish, rum character ; a 
precise, and sometimes mean or 
miserly man (1760). 

C o d 1 a n d. Newfoundland : cf. 

Codling. A raw youth. 

Cod- preserves. The Atlantic. 

Cod's-head. A stupid fellow, a fool : 
see Buffle (1675). 

Cofe. See Cove. 

C o ff e e. Beans. Greased coffee, 
pork and beans. 

Coffee - house (or Coffee - shop). 
1. A water-closet. 2. In India, a place 
at which the residents of a station 
(esp. in Upper India) meet to talk over 
a light breakfast of coffee, toast, etc., 
at an earlier hour than the regular 
breakfast of the day ; the name is also 
applied to the gathering, and so the 
halt of a regiment for refreshment on 
an early march, etc. 

Coffee-mill. The mouth ; a 
grinder itself, and furnished with 

Coffee-milling Grinding (q.v.); 
working hard. Also taking a ' sight ' 
by putting the thumb of one hand to 
the nose and grinding the little finger 
with the other, as if working an imag- 
inary coffee mill (1837). 

C o ffi n s. 1. A piece of live ooal 
thrown out explosively from a fire, and 
supposed to represent a coffin and 
presage death : cf. Winding-sheet, 
Thief, etc. 2. An ill-found unsea- 
worthy vessel. 3. In pi. (Stock Ex- 
change), the Funeral Furnishing 
Company's Shares. A nail in one's 
coffin : see Nail. 

Cog. A tooth. 

Coke. Qo and eat coke, a contemp- 
tuous retort. 

Coker. A lie (Grose) : see Whopper. 

Colchester-clock. A large oyster. 

Cold. To leave out in the cold, to 
neglect, shut out, abandon. 

Cold- blood. A house licensed for 
the sale of beer, not to be drunk on 
the premises. 

Cold-coffee. 1. A sell, hoax, 
trumpery affair. 2. Misfortune, ill- 
luck : also cold gruel ; to have one's 
comb cut, to experience a run of ill- 
luck : Fr., etre abonne au guignon. 3. 
A snub for proffered kindness. 

Cold- comfort. An article sent out 
on approval and returned. 

Cold-cook. An undertaker. 
English synonyms : carrion hunter, 
body snatcher, death hunter, black 
worker (see Black work). Hence, 
cold-cookshop, an undertaker's work- 
shop. Cold meat, a corpse : cf. 
pickles (q.v.), specimens direct from 




the subject. To make cold meat of one, 
to kill. Cold - meat box, a coffin. 
Cold-meat cart, a hearse. Cold-meat 
train, a funeral train to Brook wood 
and other cemeteries : but specifically 
a late night train to reach Aldershot 
in time for morning duty : properly 
a goods train, but a carriage is attached 
which is known as the Larky Sub- 
altern ' : this particular train carries 
nothing more dreadful than a portion of 
the beef and mutton for the morning 
ration to the troops in camp ; and, as 
stated, a few belated officers. 

Cold-deck. A prepared pack of 
cards: also a good hand obtained on 
first dealing, and without drawing 
fresh cards. 

Cold Pig. To give cold pig, to 
waken a sleeper by sluicing him with 
cold water, or by suddenly stripping 
him of bed-clothes (1818). As subs., 

1. A person robbed of his clothing. 

2. A corpse. 3. The empty re- 
turns sent back by rail to wholesale 

Cold - shivers. The effect of ill- 
ness, intense fear, or violent emotion : 
also cold shake, which may refer alike 
to a period of cold weather, or an 
attack of fever and ague. 

Cold Shoulder. Studied coldness, 
neglect, or contempt (1816). 

Cold- tea. Brandy (1690). 

Cold-water Army. The world of 
total abstainers. 

Cold - without. Spirits and cold 
water without sugar : cf. Cider and, 
Hot with, etc. (1837). 

Cole (or Coal). Money : generic : see 
Rhino (1671). To post or tip the cole, 
to hand over money, shell or fork 

Colfabias (or Colfabis). A Latinized 
Irish phrase signifying the closet of 
decency, applied as a slang term to a 

B'ace of resort in Trinity College, 
ublin (Hotten). 

C o 1 i a n d e r (or Coliander Seeds). 
Money : generic (Orose) : see Rhino. 

Collar. To seize, appropriate, 
steal. To cottar the bun (cake, Ban- 
bury, or confectioner' a shop), to be 
easily first, to surpass. Out of cottar, 
out of work, of cash, training. Con- 
versely, in collar, in work, comfort- 
able circumstances, fit or in form. 
Against collar, uphill, working against 
difficulties, against the grain. To be 
put to the pin of the cottar, to be driven 

to extremities, come to the end of 
one's resources. To wear the cottar, to 
be subject to control not altogether 
to one's liking : the antithesis of, to 
have the whip hand, and, to wear the 
breeches ; etc. 

Collar. See Big Bird. 

Collar-and-elbow. A peculiar style 
of wrestling the Cornwall and Devon 

Collar - day. Hanging day : also 
Wry-neck-day (q.v.) : Fr., jour de la 
St. Jean Baptiste. 

Collared. Unable to play one's 
usual game owing to temper, funk, 
or other causes. 

Collared Up. Kept close to busi- 
ness : cf. Out of collar. 

Collar-work. Laborious work. 

Collector. A highwayman or 

College. A prison ; the inmates 
are called Collegians or Collegiates 
(q.v.) ; Newgate was formerly called 
the City College (1703). Ladies' 
College, a brothel : see Nanny-shop. 

Colleger. A square cap, a mortar- 
board (q.v.) : see Golgotha. 

Collogue. To confer confidenti- 
ally and secretly, conspire, wheedle, 
flatter (1596). 

Colly-molly. Melancholy : cf. 
Solemoncholy and (Dr. Marigold's 
Prescriptions) Lemonjolly. 

Colly-wobbles. The stomach- 
ache, flatulency. 

Colour. 1. A handkerchief worn as 
a badge by prize-fighters and other 
professional athletes. Each man 
chose his own, and it was once a 
practice to sell them to backers to be 
worn at the ring-side : see Billy. In 
racing circles the colours are the 
owner's, and are shown in the jockeys' 
caps and jackets. 2. Payment : e.g. 
I have not seen the colour of his 
money = I have not received payment 
Coloured on the card, having the colours 
in which a jockey is to ride inserted 
on the card of the race. Off colour, 
exhausted, run down, seedy. To 
colour one's meerschaum, to get brandy- 
faced, to drink one's nose into a state 
of pimples and scarlet. 

Colquarron. The neck: see Scrag. 

Colt. 1. One new to the office, the 
exercise of any art, etc. : e.g. a pro- 
fessional cricketer during his first 
season, a first- time juryman, a thief 
in his novitiate. 2. A rope, knotted at 


Colt's Tooth. 


one end, and whipped at the other. 3. 
A thief's billy (q.v.). 4. A burglar's 
livery - stable keeper : a colt - man 
(Grose). 5. An attendant on a ser- 
jeant at his making. As verb, (1) 
to thrash : colting, a thrashing. (2) 
To cause a person to stand treat by 
way of being made free of a new 
place, to make one pay one's footing. 
Hence, collage, the footing paid by 
colts on their first appearance. 

Colt's Tooth. To have a colt (or 
coifs tooth), to be fond of youthful 
pleasures ; in the case of elderly 
persons, to have juvenile tastes ; to be 
of wanton disposition and capacity. 
[In allusion to a supposed desire to 
shed the teeth and see life over again.] 

Columbine. A prostitute. 

Columbus. Failure. A regular 
Columbus, an utter failure, a ' dead 
frost' : Fr., II pleut/=the play is a 

Comb. To comb one's hair, to take 
to task, scold, keep in order. Some- 
times to thrash, and generally ill-treat : 
also to comb down, to comb one's noddle 
with a three-legged (or joint) stool ( 1593). 

Comb - brush. A lady's maid 

Combie. A Combination room, 
the parlour in which college dons 
drink wine after Hall : also see Com- 

Combination. A woman's under- 
garment, shift and drawers in one. 
Also Combie, and (American) Chemi- 
loon (chemise and pantaloon). 

Come. 1. To practise, understand, 
act the part of : cf. Come over and 
Come tricks. 2. To lend : e.g. Has 
he come it ? To make drunk come, 
to become intoxicated : see Screwed. 
To come about one, to circumvent : cf. 
Come over and Come round. To come 
down from the walls, to abandon a 
position. To come it, (1) to proceed 
at a great rate, to make a splash and 
dash (in extravagance), to cut a 
figure. (2) To inform; (3) to show 
fear ; (4) to succeed : spec, in You 
can't come it, i.e. you cannot succeed. 
To come it strong, to exaggerate, lay 
it on thick, carry to extremes. To 
come John (or Lord Audley), see John 
Audley. To come off, to happen, 
occur, result from (1609). Come off 
the grass (or the tall grass), None of your 
airs ! Don't put it on so 1 Don't tell 

any more lies ! Fr., As-tu fini tes 
manieres (or magnes) ? ne fais done 
pas ta Sophie, and ne fais done pas ton 
fendart. To come out (1) to make -an 
appearance, display oneself, express 
oneself vigorously, make an impress- 
sion : sometimes in an intensified form. 
to come out strong : cf. Come it strong 
(1637); (2) to turn out, result: e.g. 
How did it come out ? (3) to make a 
first appearance in society. To come 
out of the little end of the horn, to fare 
badly. To come over, to influence, 
overreach, cheat. To come the old 
soldier (or any person or thing) over 
one, to imitate, overbear, wheedle, 
rule by an assumption of authority : 
Fr., essay -er de monter un bateau d 
quelqu'un ; or monter le coup or un 
battage (1713). To come round, to 
influence, circumvent, persuade : cf. 
Come over and come about, sense 1. 
To come the gum game, to over-reach 
by concealment. To come through a 
side door, to be born illegitimately. 
To come to stay, to be endowed with 
permanent qualities. To come to (or 
up to) time, to answer the call of 
' Time ! ' after the thirty seconds' 
rest between round and round, hence 
by analogy, to be on the alert, ready. 
To come up smiling, to laugh (or grin) 
at punishment ; hence (generally) to 
be superior to rebuff or disaster, face 
defeat without flinching. To come 
up to the chalk : see Scratch. To come 
the artful, to essay to deceive ; To 
come the heavy, to affect a vastly 
superior position ; To come the ugly, to 
threaten ; To come the nob (or the don), 
to put on airs ; To come the lardy-dardy, 
to dress for the public and ' look up to 
your clobber ' ; To come the serjeant, 
to issue peremptory orders ; To come 
the spoon, to make love ; To come the 
gipsy, to try to defraud ; To come the 
Rothschild to pretend to be rich ; and 
To come the Traviata (prostitutes, now 
obsolete), to feign consumption, to put 
on ' the Traviata cough ' (q-v.) with 
a view to beguiling charitable males. 
Come-down. A fall, whether of 
pride or worldly prospects, an aban- 
donment of something for something 
else of less value or moment. As verb, 
used either independently or in com- 
bination : e.g. To come down, to come 
down handsome, or to come down with 
the dust, dues, dibs, ready, oof, shiners, 
blunt, needful, (1) to pay, i.e. to 




part * ; or to lay down (as in pay- 
ment) ; to fork out : see Shell out 
(1701) ; (2) to abate prices. 

Comedy-merchant. An actor : see 

Comflogisticate. To embarrass, put 
out of countenance, confuse, hoax, of. 

Comf oozled. Overcome, exhausted 

Comfortable-importance (or Com- 
fortable-impudence). A wife ; also 
a mistress in a wife's position : Fr., 
gouvernement : see Dutch. 

Comical. A napkin. To be struck 
comical, to be astonished. 

Coming. Wanton, forward, sexual 

Commercial. 1. A tramping rogue 
or vagabond : cf. Traveller. 2. A 
commercial traveller. 

Commission (or Mish). A shirt. 
[From the Italian.] 

Commister. A clergyman : also 
camister (q.v.). 

Common-doings. Every-day fare: 
cf. chicken-fixings. [A phrase of 
Western origin, at first restricted in 
its meaning, but now including ordi- 
nary transactions as compared to 
those either large or peculiarly profit- 
able ; applied to men, actions, and 
things. What shall we do ? ' says 
a poor frontiersman's wife, when she 
hears of a Federal officer who is to 
take up his quarters at her cabin for 
a day ; ' I can't give him common- 

Commoner-grub (Winchester Col- 
lege). A dinner formerly given by 
Commoners to College after cricket 
matches. [Commoners are boys not on 
the foundation.] 

Commoney. A clay marble : cf. 

Common- jack. A prostitute. 

Common plug. An ordinary 
member of society. 

Commonsensical. Marked with 
common sense. 

Common- sewer. A drink, dram ; 
or ' go.' [From common sewer, a 

Communicator. To agitate the 
communicator, to ring the bell. 

C o m p. A compositor. [An ab- 
breviated form of companion now 
peculiar to compositors, but originally 
applied to pressmen who work in 
couples, as well as to compositors who 

work in a companionship, or ship 

Company. To tee company, to 
live by prostitution. 

Competition - wallah. One who 
enters the Indian Civil Service by 

C o m p o. A sailor's monthly ad- 
vance of wages. 

Compy - shop. A truck shop. 
[Probably a corruption of company- 
shop : workmen, before the passing of 
certain Truck Acts (q.v.), having been 
frequently compelled to make their 
weekly purchases at shops either kept 
by, or worked to the profit of, their 

don (Winchester College). A rap 
on the head with the knuckles, or 
anything hard, such as a cricket ball. 
As verb, to rap with the knuckles. 
[The derivation formerly accepted at 
Winchester was from Kovlv\ov=s* 
knuckle, but the editors of the Wyke- 
hamist suggest its origin in the North 
Country con, ' to fillip," with which the 
French se cogner exactly corresponds.] 

Concaves and Convexes. Cards 
prepared for cheating. All from the 
eight to the king are cut convex, and 
all from the deuce to the seven, con- 
cave ; so that by cutting the pack 
broadwise you cut convex, and by 
cutting them lengthwise you cut 
concave. Sometimes they are shaped 
the reverse way, so that, if suspicion 
arises, a pack so treated may be sub- 
stituted for the other to the same 
effect In this trick the sharper has 
less in his favour than in others, be- 
cause the intended victim may cut in 
the usual way, and so cut a low card 
to the dealer. But the certainty of 
being able to cut or deal a high or low 
card at pleasure, gives him an advan- 
tage against which skill is of none 
avail. Other modes of sharping are by 
means of Reflectors (q.v.) ; Longs and 
shorts, (q.v.); Pricked Cards (q.v.); 
The Bridge (q.v.) ; Skinning (q.v.) ; 
Weaving (q.v.) ; The Gradus (or Step) 
(q.v.); Palming (q.v.); and The 
Telegraph (q.v.). 

Concerned. Drunk : see Screwed. 

Concher. A tame or quiet beast. 

Condiddle. To purloin or steal 

Condog. To agree with : of. 




Confab. Familiar talk (1778). 
As verb, to talk in a familiar manner, 
to chat. 

Confectionery. A drinking bar : cf . 
Grocery, and Lush-crib. 

Confidence Trick (Dodge, or 
Buck). A process of swindling, 
obtaining trust with the deliberate 
intention of betraying it to one's own 
advantage. A greenhorn meets (or 
rather is picked up by) a stranger who 
invites him to drink. The stranger 
admires him openly, protests his 
confidence in him, and to prove his 
sincerity hands him over a large sum 
of money [snide, q.v.)] or valuables 
[bogus, q.v.] with which to walk off 
and return. The greenhorn does both, 
whereupon the stranger suggests that 
it is his turn next, and being favoured 
with certain proofs of confidence, 
which in this case are real, decamps, 
and is no more seen. This is the sim- 
plest form of the trick, but the confid- 
ence man is inexhaustible in devices. 
In many cases the subject's idiosyn- 
crasy takes the form of an idiotic 
desire to overreach his fellows ; i.e. 
he is only a knave, wrong side out, and 
it is upon this idiosyncrasy that the 
operator works. He offers a sham 
gold watch at the price of a nickel one ; 
he calls with presents from nowhere 
where none are expected ; he writes 
letters announcing huge legacies to 
persons absolutely kinless ; and as his 
appeal is addressed to the sister pas- 
sions of greed and dishonesty, he 
seldom fails of his reward. FT., 
mener en bateau un pante pour le re- 
fair e=to stick a jay and flap him. 

Conflab berated. Bothered, up- 
set, flummoxed (q.v.). 

Conflabberation. A confused 
wrangle, a hullabaloo. 

Confounded. Excessive, odious, 
detestable, e.g. a confounded nuisance, 
lie, humbug, etc. : cf. Awful, Beastly, 
and other ' strumpets of speech ' 

Confubuscate. To confuse, 
perplex, astonish : cf. Confusticate. 

Coniacker. A counterfeiter, 
smasher, (q.v.), 'queer -bit' faker. 
[Obviously a play upon coin, money, 
and hack, to mutilate.] Fr., un 
tnornifteur tarte. 

Conish. Genteel (1830). 

Conk. The nose. English syno- 
nyms: boko (or boco), proboscis, 

smeller, bowsprit, claret- jug, gig, 
muzzle, cheese-cutter, beak, snuff- 
box, snorter, post-horn, paste-horn, 
handle, snout, nozzle, smelling-cheat, 
snotter, candlestick, celestial, snottle- 
box, snuffler, trumpet, snorer, peak. 

Conoodle. See Canoodle. 

Conscience. A kind of association 
in a small theatrical company for the 
allotment of shares in the profits, etc. 
The man who is lucky enough to have 
a concern of his own, generally a very 
small affair, however badly he may 
act, must be the leading man or first 
low comedian, perhaps both. He 
becomes the manager, of course, and 
thus has one share for ' fit-up,' one for 
scenery, one and a half for manage- 
ment, one for wardrobe, one and a 
half as leading man ; and the same is 
given to the wife, who, of course, will 
not play anything but the juvenile 
lead, but who at any other time would 
be glad to play first old woman. 

Considerable Bend. To go on the 
considerable bend, to go in for a bout 
of dissipation. 

Consonant- choker. One that clips 
his G's and muffles his R's. 

Constable. To out- (or over-run) 
the constable, to live beyond one's 
means and get into debt ; also, in a 
figurative sense, to escape from a bad 
argument, to change the subject, 
to talk about what is not understood 

Constician. A member of an 

Constitutional. A walk undertaken 
for the sake of health and exercise 
[i.e. for the benefit of the constitu- 
tion] : Fr., tronchiner (1850). 

Contango (Stock Exchange). 
A fine paid by the buyer to the seller 
of stock for carrying over the en- 
gagement to another settling day, and 
representing a kind of interest for a 
fourteen days' extension. [Thought 
to be a corruption of continuation.] 

Content. Dead : see Hop the 

Continent (Winchester College). 
Ill ; on the sick list. [From continent 
cameram vel lectum, keeping one's 
room or bed.] See Abroad. 

Continental. To care (or be worth) 
not a continental or continental damn, 
to be worthless ; to care not in the 
least degree. 




Continuations. Trousers: see Kick*. 
[Of analogous derivation to inexpres- 
sibles ; unmentionables ; mustn't- men- 
tion' ems ; untalkabou tables, etc.] 

Contraptions. Small articles, tools, 
and so forth (1838). 

Convenience. A water-closet or 

Convenient A mistress (1676). 

Convexes. See Concaves, 

Convey. To steal (1596). Hence 
conveyance, a theft (1592). Convey- 
ancer, a thief : also conveyer. Con- 
veyancing, thieving. 

Cony (or Tom Cony). A simpleton. 

Conycatch. To cheat, deceive, 
trick, bite (q.v.) (1593). Hence, 
cony-catcher, a cheat, sharper, trick- 
ster. Cony-catching, cheating, trickery, 
swindling after the manner of Cony- 
catchers (q.v.). 

Coo-e-e-e or Coo-ey. A signal cry 
of the Australian blackfellow, adopted 
by the invading whites. The final 
' e ' is a very high note, a sort of pro- 
longed screech, that resounds for 
miles through the bush, and thus 
enables parties that have lost each 
other to ascertain their relative 

Cook. 1. To tamper with, garble, or 
falsify : accounts are cooked when so 
altered as to look better than they are ; 
pictures are cooked when dodged-up 
for sale ; painters say that a picture 
will not cook when it is so excellent as 
to be beyond imitation (1751). 2. 
To swelter with heat and sweat. To 
cook one 1 8 goose, to settle, worst, kill, 
ruin. English synonyms : to anodyne, 
to put to oed, to snuff out, to give (or 
cook) one's gruel, to corpse, to cooper 
up, to wipe out, to spiflicate, to settle 
(or settle one's hash), to squash, to 
shut up, to send to pot, to smash, to 
finish, to do for, to put one's light out, 
to stop one's little game, to stop one's 
galloping, to put on an extinguisher, to 
clap a stopper on, to bottle up, to 
squelch, to play hell with, to rot, to 
squash up, to stash, to give a croaker. 
For synonyms in the sense of circum- 
vention : see Floored. 

Cookeyshine. An afternoon 
meal at which cookies form a staple 
dish : cf. Tea-fight, Muffin-worry. 

Cook-ruffian. A bad or indifferent 
cook, one ' who would cook the devil 
in his feathers.' 

Cool. 1. Impertinent, audacious, 
calmly impudent 2. (In refer- 
ence to money ; e.g. a cool hun- 
dred, thousand, etc.). Commonly 
expletive ; but sometimes used to 
cover a sum a little above the figure 
stated (1750). As verb (Eton Col- 
lege). To kick hard. Hence, Cool- 
kick, when a Behind (q.v.), or back, 
gets a kick with no one up to him. 
Cool as a cucumber, without heat ; also, 
metaphorically, calm and composed. 
To cool one's coppers, to allay the 
morning's thirst after a night of drink. 

Cool-crape. A shroud, or winding 
sheet (Grose) (1742). 

Cooler. 1. A woman (1742). 
2. A prison : see Cage. 3. Ale or 
stout after spirits and water : some- 
times called Putting the beggar on 
the gentleman ; also Damper (q.v.) 

Cool-lady. A female camp fol- 
lower who sells brandy (Grose). 

Cool-nantz. Brandy: see Drinks. 

Coon. 1. A man. 2. A nigger, e.g. 
a coons' bawdy house, house where 
none are kept but girls of colour. 
Oone coon, one in a senous or hopeless 
difficulty. To go the whole coon, to go 
the whole hog. 

Coon's - age. A long time, a blue 

Coop. A prison: see Cage. Hence, 
Cooped up, imprisoned. 

Cooper (or Cooper up). 1. To 
destroy, spoil, settle, or finish. 2. 
To forge. 3. To understand. Hence, 
Coopered, hocussed, spoiled, ruined, 
e.g. a house is said to be coopered 
when the importunity of many tramps 
has caused its inmates to cold-shoul- 
der the whole fraternity ; a coopered 
horse is a horse that has been ' got at ' 
with a view to prevent its running. 

Coored. Whipped (D. Haggart, 
Life, Glossary, p. 171 [1821].) 

Coot A stupid fellow ; generally 
a silly, or mad, old coot : stupid 
as a coot is a common English pro- 
vincialism : see Buffle. 

Cooter. See Couter. 

Cop. A policeman. As verb. 1. 
To seize, steal, catch, take an unfair 
advantage in a bet or bargain. [Cop 
has been associated with the root of 
the Latin cap-io, to seize, to snatch ; 
also with the Gipsy tap or top = to 
take ; Scotch kep ; and Gallic ceapan. 
Probably, however, its true radix ia 




to be found in the Hebrew eop=a 
hand or palm. Low-class Jews em- 
ploy the term, and understand it to 
refer to the act of snatching.] Cop 
like Chuck (q.v.), is a sort of general 
utility verb : thus to cop the needle, to 
get angry ; to cop the bullet (or the 
door), to get the sack ; and to cop the 
brewer, to be drunk. 2. To arrest, 
imprison, betray, ensnare. English 
synonyms : to give the clinch, to make 
one kiss the clink, to accommodate, to 
nobble, to bag, to box, to fist (old), 
to scoop, to take up, to victimize, to 
run in, to give (or get) one the boat, 
to buckle, to smug, to nab, to collar, to 
pinch, to nail, to rope in, to snake, 
to pull up. 

Copbusy. To hand over booty to 
a confederate. 

Copper. A policeman. 

Copperheads. A nickname applied 
to different sections of the American 
nation ; first to the Indian ; then to 
the Dutch colonist (see Irving, Knicker- 
bocker) ; lastly, during the Civil War, 
to certain Northern Democrats who 
sympathised with the South. 

Copperman. A policeman. 

Copper-nose. A swollen, pimply 
nose, a jolly or bottle nose ; Fr., 
bette-rave, piton passe d I 'encaustiqw : 
of. Grogblossom (1822). 

Copper's-nark. A police spy, one 
in the pay of the police. 

C o p u s. A wine or beer cup : 
commonly imposed as a fine upon 
those who talked Latin in hall or com- 
mitted other breaches of etiquette. 
Dr. Johnson derives it from episcopus, 
and if this be correct it is doubtless the 
same as bishop. 

Copy- of - countenance. A sham, 
humbug, pretence (1579). 

Core (C o r e i n g). Picking up 
small articles in shops (1821). 

Corinth. A brothel (1609). 
Hence, Corinthian. 1. A rake, loose 
liver, sometimes specifically, a fashion- 
able whore. Shakespeare has it, ' a 
lad of mettle,' but in another place 
he uses Corinth as above. 2. A dandy, 
specifically applied in the early part 
of the present century to a man of 
fashion ; e.g. Corinthian Tom, hi 
Pierce Egan's Life in London. 

Cork. 1. A bankrupt. 2. A 
general name in Glasgow and neigh- 
bourhood for the head of an establish- 
ment, e.g. of a factory, or the like. To 

draw a cork, to draw blood ; to tap 
one's claret (1818). 

Cork-brained. Light headed, 

Corker. 1. That which closes an 
argument, or puts an end to a course 
of action ; a settler ; a finisher (q.v.) ; 
specifically a lie : cf. Whopper. 2, 
Anything unusually large, or of first- 
rate quality ; remarkable in some 
respect or another ; e.g. a heavy 
blow ; a monstrous lie. To play the 
corker, to indulge in the uncommon, 
exhibit exaggerated peculiarities of 
demeanour : specifically in school and 
university slang to make oneself ob- 
jectionable to one's fellows. 

Corks. 1. A butler: cf. Burn- 
crust, a baker ; Master of the mint, a 
gardener; Cinder-garbler, a maid-of- 
all-work, etc. 2. (nautical). Money : 
see Rhino. 

Corkscrewing. The straggling, 
spiral walk of tipsiness. 

Corkscrews. Very stiff and formal 
curls, once called Bottle-screws. 

Corky. Sprightly, lively. Shakes- 
peare uses it in King Lear, m. vii. 
Com., Bind fast his corky arms ; but 
with him (1605) it = withered. 

Corn. 1. Food, sustenance, grub 
(q.v.). 2. An abbreviated form of 
corn -juice (q.v.), i.e. whisky (1843). 
To acknowledge the corn : see Acknow- 

Corned. 1. Drunk : see Screwed 
(1785). 2. (sailors'), pleased. 

Corner. 1. Tattersall's Subscrip- 
tion Rooms, once situate at the top of 
Grosvenor Place, near Hyde Park 
Corner ; now removed to Albert Gate, 
but still known by the old nickname. 
2. Short for Tattenham Corner, a 
point on the Derby course on Epsom 
Downs. 3. A share ; an opportunity 
of standing in for the proceeds of a 
robbery. As verb, to get control of a 
stock or commodity and so mono- 
polize the market ; applied to persons, 
to drive or force into a position of 
difficulty or surrender, e.g. in an 
argument ; also as subs., a monopoly, 
a controlling interest. Fr., etre en fine 
pfgr&ne, and se mettre sur les fonts de 
bapteme. Tailors speak of a man as 
cornered who has pawned work en- 
trusted to him, and cannot redeem it. 
To be round the corner, to get round 
or ahead of one's fellows by dishonest 
cuts, doublings, twists, and turns. To 




turn the corner, to get over the worst, 
begin to mend in health and fortune. 
To be cornered, to be in a fix : Fr., 
etre dans le lac, 

Corner-man (or Cove). 1. A loafer; 
literally a lounger at corners (1851). 
2. The ' Bones ' and ' Tambourine ' in 
a band of negro minstrels. 

Corn-in- Egypt Plenty of all kinds. 

Cornish-duck. A pilchard: cf. 
Yarmouth capon. 

Corn- juice. Whisky : see Drinks. 

Cornstalk. Generic (Australian) 
for persons of European descent, 
but especially applied to girls. The 
children of Anglo - Australians are 
generally taller and slighter in build 
than their parents. Originally a native 
of New South Wales ; now general. 
Cf. Bananalander. 

Cornstealers. The hands. 

Corny-faced. Red and pimply with 

Coroner. A severe fall. 

Corporation. A protuberant 
stomach : see Bread-basket (1785). 

Corpse. A horse in the betting for 
market purposes alone ; otherwise a 
stiff un. Verb, 1. To confuse, queer, 
blunder, and so put out one's fellows, 
to spoil a scene. 2. To kill (literally 
to make a corpse of one). Fr., parier 
sur quelqu'un. 

Corps e- provider. A doctor or 
physician : see Crocus. 

Corpse-reviver. A mixed drink. 

Correct (or K'rect Card). See Card. 

Corroboree. A disturbance. 
[Properly a tremendous native dance.] 
Verb, to boiL 

Gorsican. Something out of the 
common ; a buster. [A Burnand- 

Corybungus. The posteriors. 

Cosh. A ' neddy,' a life-preserver ; 
a short, loaded bludgeon. Also a 
policeman's truncheon. 

Cossack. A policeman. 

Costard. The head. [Properly an 
apple.] See Crumpet (1534). 

Cotch. To catch. [A corruption.] 
Also ppL adj., Co tohed. 

Cot (Christ's Hospital). A shoe- 

Cotsold (or Cotswold Lion). A 
iheep : see Wool-bird (1615). 

Cotton. To take a fancy to, unite 
with, agree with. In the last sense it is 
found occasionally in the Elizabethan 

writers, and is American by survival" 
To die with cotton in one's tars : Many 
of the most hardened and desperate 
offenders, from the kindness, attention, 
and soothing conduct of the Rev. Mr. 
Cotton [the chaplain at Newgate, 
1821], who is indefatigable in admin- 
istering consolation to their troubled 
minds, have become the most sincere 
penitent* (Egan, Tom and Jerry). 
This was by no means the only instance 
of a popular punning allusion to the 
name of Cotton. The Jesuit Father 
Coton, having obtained a great 
ascendency over Henri IV., it was 
remarked by that monarch's subject* 
that, unfortunately, hi* ears were 
stuffed with cotton. 

Cotton-lord (or king). A wealthy 
cotton manufacturer. 

Cottonopolis. Manchester : cf. 
Albertopolis, Cubitopolis, Hygeia- 

Cottons (Stock Exchange). Con- 
federate Bonds. [From the staple of 
the Southern States.] 

Cotton - top. A woman loose in 
fact, but keeping up some sort of 
appearance. [In allusion to cotton 
stockings with silk feet.] 

Couch. To couch a hogshead, to lie 
down and sleep (1569). 

Councillor of the Pipowder Court. 
A pettifogging lawyer. [The Pi- 
powder Court was one held at fairs 
where justice was done to any injured 
person before the dust of the fair was 
off his feet ; the name being derived 
from the French pie poudrf. Some, 
however, think that it had its origin 
in pied-poiddreux, a pedlar, and 
signifies a pedlars' court. 

Council-of-ten. The toes of a man 
who walks Duck- footed (q.v.) : cf. 
Ten commandments : Fr., arpiom. 

Counsellor. A barrister: Fr., 

Count. A man of fashion, a swell. 

Counter. To strike while parry- 
ing. Figuratively, to oppose, to cir- 
cumvent. Another lie nailed to the 
counter : see Another. 

Counterfeit-cranke. ' These that do 
coimterfet the cranke be yong knavea 
and yonge harlots, that deeply dis- 
semble the falling sickness ' (Harmon). 
Hence, a cheat. 

Counter-jumper (or skipper). 
A draper's assistant, a shopman : Fr., 
chevalier du metre : see Knight of the 




yard : also Counter- jump, to act as a 
shop-assistant, and Counter- jumping, 
verbal subs. (1855). 

Count. See Noses. 

Country. That part of the ground 
at a great distance from the wicket ; 
thus, a fielder at deep-long-off, or 
long-on is said to be in the country, 
and a ball bit to the far boundary, is 
hit into the country. 

Country- put. An ignorant, country 
fellow: see Joskin. (1717). 

County-crop. The hair cut close 
to the skull ; a mode once common to 
all prisoners, but now to convicts only : 
also prison-crop. 

Couple (or Buckle) beggar. A 
celebrant of irregular marriages as 
the Chaplain of the Fleet ; a hedge 
priest (1737). 

Coupling- house. A brothel. 

Couranne. See Caroon. 

Court-card. A beau, swell. 

Court Holy Water (or Court Pro- 
mises). Fair speeches without per- 

Cousin Betty. A half-witted 
person : see Buffle. 

Cousin-trumps. One of a kind, 
Brother smut, Brother chip. 

Couter (or Cooter). A sovereign : 
see Rhino. 

Cove (Covey, Cofe, Cuffing, and, 
in the feminine, Covess). 1. A 
person ; a companion. Cove enters 
into many combinations : e.g. Cross- 
cove, a robber ; Flash-cove, a thief or 
swindler ; Kinchin-cove, a little man ; 
Flogging-cove, a beadle ; Smacking- 
cove, a coachman ; Narry - cove, a 
drunkard ; Topping-cove, a highway- 
man ; Abram-cove, a beggar ; Queer- 
cove, a rogue ; Nubbing-cove, the 
hangman ; Gentry-cove, a gentleman ; 
Downy-cove, shrewd man ; Rum-cove, 
a doubtful character ; Nib - cove, a 
gentleman, etc., etc., etc., all which 
see. English synonyms : boy, chap, 
cull, cully, customer, kiddy, homo (or 
omee), fish, put, bloke, gloak, party, 
cuss, codger, buffer, gaffer, damber, 
duck, chip. [For examples of the 
use of Covey and Covess, see same.] 
2. In up - country Australian, the 
master, boss, or gaffer of a sheep 
station. Cove of dossing-ken, the land- 
lord of a common lodging-house : Fr., 
marchand de sommeti. 

Covent Garden. A ' farden ' or 

Covent - garden Abbess. A pro- 
curess. [Covent Garden at one time 
teemed with brothels : as Fielding's 
Covent Garden Tragedy (1751-2) sug- 

Covent-garden Ague. A venereal 

Covent - garden Nun. A pro- 

Coventry. To send one to (or to 
be in) Coventry, to exclude from social 
intercourse, or notice; to be in dis- 

Cover. A pickpocket's confed- 
erate : one who ' fronts,' i.e. distracts 
the attention of, the victim ; a stall 
(q.v.). As verb, 1. To act as a pick- 
pocket's confederate. 2. To drink : 
see Lush. 

Cover-arse Gown. A gown with- 
out sleeves (1803). 

Cover-down. An obsolete term for 
a false tossing coin : see Cap. 

Cover- me -decently. A coat 

Covess. A woman : see Cove. (1789). 

Covey. A man : a diminutive of 
cove (q.v.). 

Cow. 1. A woman. The term is 
now opprobrious ; but in its primary 
and natural sense the usage is ancient. 
Howell [1659] says : ' There are some 
proverbs that carry a kind of authority 
with them, as that which began in 
Henrie the Fourth's time. " He that 
bulls the cow must keep the calf." ' 
2. A prostitute. 3. A thousand pounds : 
see Rhino. To talk the hind leg off a 
cow (or dog) : see Talk. Tune the cow 
died of : see Tune. 

Cowan. A sneak, a Paul Pry. 

Cow- and- calf. To laugh. 

Coward's- castle (or Corner). A 

Cowcumber. A corruption of 

Cow-grease (or Cow-oil). Butter : 
see Cart-grease. 

Cow- juice. Milk. 

Cow-lick. A lock of hair, greased, 
curled, brought forward from the ear, 
and plastered on the cheek : once 
common amongst costermongers and 
tramps : see Aggerawators. 

Cow-oil. Cow-grease. 

Cow-puncher. A cowboy or herds- 

Cow- quake. The roar of a bull. 

Cows-and-kisses. The missus, or 
mistress ; also women generally. 




Cow's - baby (or babe) A calf, 
Bleating-cheat (q.v.). 

Cow-shooter (Winchester College). 
A deerstalker hat : only worn by prse- 
fecte and candle-keepers. 

Cow's-spouse. A bull (Orose). 

Cow - with - the - iron - tail. A 
pump ; the source of the ' cooling 
medium ' for ' regulating ' milk : also 
Black - cow, One - armed man, and 
Simpson's oow (q.v.). 

Coxy. Stuck up, conceited, im- 
pudent (1856). 

Coyduck. To decoy. [A blend of 
conduct *nd decoy.] (1829). 

Cozza. Pork. 

Crab. 1. The same as bonnet (q.v.) 
subs., sense 1. 2. In pi., the feet. 

3. A pair of aces, or deuce-ace the 
lowest throw at hazard ( 1 768). Verb, 
to expose, inform, offend, insult ; and 
especially to interrupt, to get in the 
way of, to spoil. To turn out crabs 
(or a case of crabs), a matter turns out 
crabs when it is brought to a dis- 
agreeable conclusion. To catch a 
crab (to cut a crab, to catch or cut a 
cancer or lobster), there are various 
ways of catching a crab, as, for ex- 
ample ( 1 ) to turn the blade of the oar 
or feather ' under water at the end 
of the stroke, and thus be unable to 
recover ; (2) to lose control of the oar 
at the middle of the stroke by dig- 
ging too deeply ; or (3) to miss the 
water altogether. 

Crab-louse. The pulex pubis, the 
male whereof is called a cock, the 
female a hen (Grose). 

Crabshells. Shoes. 

Crack. 1. A crazy person : soft- 
head : see Buffle (1609). 2. A pro- 
stitute (1698). 3. A lie : also Cracker. 

4. A burglary. 5. A burglar (1749). 

6. An approach to perfection (1825). 

7. A racehorse eminent for speed, and 
(hunting), a famous ' mount.' 8. 
Dry firewood. Adj., approaching 
perfection : used in a multitude of 
combinations. A crack hand is an 
adept or dabster; a crack corps, a 
brilliant regiment ; a crack whip, good 
coachman; etc. (1836). Verb, 1. 
To talk to, boast. [The verb was 
once good English, and in the sense of 
to talk or gossip is still good Scots. 
The modern form to crack up, is well 
within the borderland between literary 
and colloquial English (1597). 2. To 
force open, to commit a burglary. 3. 

To forge or utter worthless paper. 4. 
To fall to ruin, to be impaired (1631). 
5. To inform ; to peach (q.v.). To 
crack a bottle (or a quart), to drink 
(1598). To crack a crib (sway, or ken), to 
commit a burglary ; to break into a 
house. English synonyms : to stamp 
a ken or crib, to work a panny, to 
jump a house (also applied to simple 
robbery without burglary), to do a 
crack, to practise the black art, to 
screw, to bust a crib, to flimp, to buz, 
to tool, to wire, to do a ken-crack-lay. 
To crack a crust, to rub along in the 
world: a superlative fordoing very well 
is, to crack a tidy crust. To crack a whid, 
to talk. To crack on, to put on speed, 
increase one s pace. To crack up, to 
praise, eulogize : a superlative is to 
crack up to the nines : Fr., faire F article, 
and faire son boniment (or son petit 
boniment). The crack (or all the crack), 
the go (q.v.), the thing, the kick, the 
general craze of the moment. In a 
crack, instantaneously, in the twink- 
ling of an eye (1725). 

Cracked (or Cracked-up). 1. 
Ruined, bust up, gone to smash (or 
to pot). 2. Crazy. 3. Deflowered : 
also Cracked in the ring. 

Cracker. Anything approaching 
perfection : used in both a good and 
bad sense ; e.g. a rattling pace, a 
large sum of money, a bad fall, an 
enormous lie, a dandy (male or female) 
of the first magnitude, and so forth. 

Cracky. See Crickey. 

Crack - halter (or Crack - rope). 
A vagabond ; an old equivalent of 
jail-bird: cf. Hemp-seed (1566). 

Cracking. House-breaking. 

Crackish. Wanton, said only of 
women : cf. Coming. 

Crack-jaw Words (Names, etc.). 
Long words difficult to pronounce. 

Crackle (or Crackling). The velvet 
bars on the gowns of the Johnian 
'hogs' (q.v.). 

Crackmans (or Cragmans). A 
hedge (1610). 

Crack for Break) One's Egg (or 
Duck. To begin to score. [To 
make no run is to lay, or make, a 
duck's egg ; to make none in either 
innings is to get a double-duck, or 
to come off with a pair of spectacles.] 

Crack- pot. A pretentious, worth- 
less person. 

Crack-rope. See Crack-halter. 

Cracksman. A housebreaker. 




Cradle, Altar, and Tomb Column. 
The births, marriages, and deaths 
column in a newspaper: also Hatch, 
Match, and Dispatch column. 

Crag. See Scrag. 

Cram. 1. A lie ; also Crammer. 2. 
Hard, forced study. 3. One who 
prepares another for an examination, 
a coach, a grindstone. 4. An adven- 
titious aid to study, a translation, 
a crib. Verb, 1. To study at high 
pressure for an examination : also to 
prepare one for examination (1803). 
2. To lie, deceive (1794). 

Crammer. 1. A liar, one who tells 
Crams (q.v.). 2. A lie ; the same as 
cram. 3. One who prepares men for 
examination, a coach, grinder (q.v.) 

Cramming. The act of studying 
hard for an examination. 

Cramped (or Crapped). Hanged ; 
also killed. 

Cramping-cull. The hangman. 

Cramp in the Hand. Meanness, 

Cramp - rings. Bolts, shackles, 
fetters. [Properly a ring of gold or 
silver, which after being blessed by 
the sovereign, was held a specific for 
cramp and f ailing-sickness. ] (1 609 ). 

Cramp - words. 1. Hard, unpro- 
nounceable vocables, Crackjaw words 
(q.v.) (1748). 2. Sentence of death 

Cranberry-eye. A blood-shot eye ; 
the result of alcoholism. 

Crank. 1. ' These that do coun- 
terfet the cranke be yong knaues and 
yonge harlots, that deeply dissemble 
the falling sicknes. For the crank in 
their language is the fallinge evill ' 
(Harmari). Also Cranke and Crank- 
cuffin. 2. Gin and water (Orose). 3. 
An eccentric, a crotcheteer. Adj., 
Easily upset : e.g. The skiff is very 

Crank- cuffin. One of the canting- 
crew whose specialty was to feign 
sickness : see Crank. 

Cranky. Crotchetty, whimsical, 
ricketty, not to be depended upon, 
crazy. English synonyms : dicky, 
maggotty, dead-alive, yappy, touched, 
chumpish, comical, dotty, rocketty, 
queer, faddy, fadmongering, twisted, 

Crao. 1. Money; sometimes crop : 
see Rhino. 2. The gallows : see 
Nubbing Cheat. 3. Type that has got 


mixed ; technically known as ' pi.' 
Verb, 1. To hang ; to be cropped, to 
be hanged. 2. To ease oneself by 
evacuation : see Mrs. Jones. 

Crapping - casa (case, castle, or 
ken). A water-closet. 

Crapping - castle. A night stool : 
see previous entry. 

Crash. 1. Entertainment: prob- 
ably a cant word (Nares). 2. The 
machine used to suggest the roar of 
thunder ; a noise of desperate (and 
unseen) conflict ; an effect of ' alarums 
excursions' generally. Verb, to kill. 

Crashing - cheats (or chetes). 
1. The teeth (1567). 2. ' Appels, 
peares, or any other fruit ' (Harmon). 

Crater (Cratur, or Creature). 
Formerly, any kind of liquor, now, 
Irish whisky. [Fuller speaks of 
water as ' a creature so common and 
needful,' and Bacon describes light as 
' God's first creature.' Transition is 
easy.] The skin of the creature, the 
bottle : see Drinks (1598). 

Crawl. A workman who curries 
favour with a foreman or emp )oyer, a 

Crawler. 1. A cab that leaves the 
rank and ' crawls ' the street in search 
of fares. 2. A term of contempt, 

Crawthumper. 1. Roman 
Catholic, ' the Pope's cockrels ' 
(1629) : also Brisket-beaters and, col- 
lectively, the Breast - fleet. 2. In 
America an Irishman or Dick, i.e. an 
Irish Catholic (1782). 

Cream Cheese. To make believe the 
moon is made of cream (or green) cheese, 
to humbug, to deceive, to impose upon. 

Cream - jugs (Stock Exchange). 
1. Charkof - Krementschug Railway 
Bonds. 2. The paps. 

Cream - of - the - valley, (also Cold 
Cream). Gin : cf. Mountain Dew, 

Creamy. Excellent, first-rate : see 

Creation. To beat (or lick) creation, 
to overpower, excel, surpass, be in- 

Creeme. To slip or slide anything 
into the hands of another (Orose). 

Creeper. One who cringes and 
curries favour, a skunk, a snide (q.v.). 

Creepers. 1. The feet. English syn- 
onyms: dew-beaters, beetle-crushers, 
understandings, trotters, tootsies, 
stumps (also the legs), everlasting 



hoes, hocks, boot-trees, pasterns, 
arda (Old Cant now used as an adj. = 
hot), double- breasters, daisy-beaters, 
kickers, crabs, trampers, hockles, 
hoofs, pudseys. 2. Lice : see Chates. 

Creeps. The peculiar thrill re- 
sulting from an undefinable sense of 
dread : Goose - flesh, Cold shivers, 
Cold water down the back (1836). 

Crevecosur. See Heart - breaker. 

Cxi. The Criterion, theatre and 
restaurant, at Piccadilly Circus. 

Crib. 1. The stomach (1656). 2. 
Generic for a place ; e.g. a house, 
place of abode, apartments, lodgings, 
shop, warehouse, den, diggings, or 
snuggery (1598). 3. A situation, place, 
or berth*. 4. A literal translation sur- 
reptitiously used by students ; also a 
theft of any kind ; specifically, any- 
thing copied without acknowledg- 
ment (1841). 5. A bed. Verb, (1) 
to steal, pilfer ; used specifically of 
petty thefts : see Prig (1748). (2) To 
use a translation ; to cheat at an 
examination ; to plagiarise. To crack 
a crib, see Crack. 

Cribbage - face (and Cribbage- 
faced). Pock - marked and like a 
cribbage-board, Colander-faced, Crum- 
pet - faced, Pikelet - faced, Mockered 
(q.v.) (1785). 

Crib her. A grumbler. 

Cribbeys (or Cribby - Islands). 
Blind alleys, courts, and bye-ways. 

Cribbing. 1. Food and drink, grub 
and booze (1656). 2. Stealing, pur- 
loining, using a translation. 

Crib- biter. An inveterate grum- 
bler. [Properly a horse that worries 
his crib, rack, manger, or groom, and 
at the same time draws in his breath 
so as to make the peculiar noise 
called wind-sucking.] FT. gourgousseur, 
un rcme, rendcleur, and renaudeur. 

Crib-cracker. A housebreaker. 

Crib-cracking Housebrcaking. 

Crikey! (Cracky! or Cry!) For- 
merly, a profane oath ; now a mere 
expression of astonishment. [A cor- 
ruption of ' Christ.'] 

Crimini (Criminey, or Crimes!) 
See Crikey. [Possibly influenced by 
crimen meum, my fault] (1700). 

Crimson. To make things look 
crimson, to go on a drunken frolic, 
paint the town red (q.v.). 

Crincle - pouch. A sixpence : see 
Bender (1593). 

Crinkums. A venereal disease. 

Crinoline. A woman. 

Cripple. 1. A ' snid ' (Scots) or 
sixpence: see Rhino (1785). 2. An 
awkward oaf, a dullard : Fr., mala- 
patte. Go it, you cripple* I A sarcastic 
comment on strenuous effort ; fre- 
quently used without much sense of 
fitness ; e.g. when the person ad- 
dressed is a capable athlete. Wooden 
legs are cheap, is sometimes added as 
an intensitive. 

Crisp. A banknote : see Rhino. 

Crispin. A shoemaker. [From 
Saints Crispin and Crispianus, the 
patrons of the ' gentle craft,' Le. shoe- 
making.] 8t. Crispin's lance, an awL 
Crispin's holiday, Monday : spec. 25th 
of October, being the anniversary of 
Crispinus and Crispianus. 

Croak. A dying speech, especially 
the confession of a murderer. Also 
the same as printed for sale in the 
streets by a flying stationer (q.v.). 
Verb, to die : see Hop the Twig. 

Croaker. 1. A sixpence : see Rhino. 
2. A beggar. 3. A dying person. 4. 
A corpse. 6. The flesh of an animal 
which has died a natural death. 6. 
A doctor. 7. A person who sees 
everything en noir, and whose con- 
versation is likened to that of the 
raven, the bird of ill-omen : see Gold- 
smith's Good Natured Man. Fr., glas. 

Croakumshire. Northumberland. 
[Grose : from the particular croaking 
in the pronunciation of the people of 
that county, especially about New- 
castle and Morpeth, where they are 
said to be born with a burr in their 
throats, which prevents their pro- 
nouncing the letter ' r.'] 

Crock. A worthless animal, a 
fool, rotter. 

Crocketts (Winchester College). 
A kind of bastard cricket, sometimes 
called ' small crochette.' Five stumps 
are used and a fives ball, with a bat 
of plain deal about two inches broad, 
or a broomstick. To get crocketts, to 
fail to score at cricket, to make a 
duck's egg. 

Crocodile. A girl's school walk- 
ing two and two. 

Crocus (Crocu s- metallorum 
or Croakus). A doctor ; specifically, 
a quack. English synonyms: pill, 
squirt, butcher, croaker, corpse-pro- 
vider, bolus, clyster, gallipot. [Several 
of these terms also=an apothecary.] 




Crocus-chovey. A doctor's shop. 

Crocus- pitcher. A quack ambulant. 

Crocussing-rig, subs. (old). 
Travelling from place to place as a 
quack doctor. 

Crone. A clown or buffoon. 

Crook. 1. A sixpence : see Rhino. 
2. A thief, swindler, one who gets 
things on the crook. On the crook, the 
antithesis of on the straight (q.v.) : cf. 
Cross. To crook (or cock) the elbow (or 
the little finger), to drink. [Fr., lever 
le coude ; a hard drinker is un adroit 
du coude.} See Lush. 

Crook-back. A sixpenny piece, 
many of the slang names of which 
suggest a bashed and battered ap- 
pearance ; e.g. bender, cripple, crook : 
see Rhino. 

Crooked. Disappointing, the 
reverse of straight (q.v.), pertaining 
to the habits, ways, and customs of 
thieves. Crooked as a Virginia (or 
snake) fence, uneven, zig-zag, said of 
matters or persons difficult to keep 
straight. To make a Virginia fence, 
to walk unsteadily, as a drunkard. 
Virginia fences zigzag with the soil. 

Crooky. To hang on to, lead, walk 
arm-in-arm, court, or pay addresses 
to a girL 

Crop. See Crap. 

Cropped. Hanged : see Ladder, 
and Topped (1781). 

Cropper. A heavy fall or failure 
of any kind ; generally ' to come a 
cropper.' [Originally hunting.] 

Croppie (or Croppy). Originally 
applied to a criminal cropped in ears 
and nose by the public executioner ; 
subsequently to convicts, in allusion to 
closely cropped hair ; hence any person 
with hair cut close to the head ; e.g. 
the Puritans and the Irish Rebels of 

Croppled. To be croppled (Winches- 
ter College), to fail in an examination ; 
to be sent down at a lesson. 

Croppy. See Croppie. 

Crops. To go and look at the crops, 
to consult Mrs. Jones (q.v.). 

Cross. 1. A pre-arranged swindle. 
In its special sporting signification a 
cross is an arrangement to lose on the 
part of one of the principals in a fight, 
or any kind of match. When both 
principals conspire that one shall win, 
it is called a Double cross (q.v.). 
[Obviously a shortened form of Cross- 
bite. 2. A thief; also Cross -man, 

Cross-cove, Cross-chap, squire (knight, 
or lad) of the cross, etc. Literally a 
man on the cross (see sense 1).] As 
verb, to play false in a match of any 
kind. Hence to thwart, baffle, spoil 
(1709). Cross in the air, a rifle carried 
butt-end upwards. To shake the cross, 
to quit the cross (sense 1) and go on 
the square (q.v.). To be crossed, thus 
explained in a University Guide : 
For not paying term bills to the bur- 
sar (treasurer), or for cutting chapels, 
or lectures, or other offences, an 
undergrad can be crossed at the but- 
tery, or kitchen, or both, i.e. a cross is 
put against his name by the Don, who 
wishes to see him, or to punish him. 
On the cross, the opposite of on the 
square (q.v.): cf. On the crook. 

Cross- belts. The Eighth Hussars. 
[The regiment wears the sword belt 
over the right shoulder in memory of 
the battle of Saragossa, where it took 
the belts of the Spanish cavalry. 
This privilege was confirmed by the 
King's Regulations of 1768. 

Cross- bite. See Cross- biting. As 
verb, to cheat, scold, hoax. [Nares 
thinks it a compound of cross and 
bite. It has suffered a double ab- 
breviation, both its components being 
used substantively and verbally in the 
same sense.] See Stiff (1581). 

Cross - biter. A cheat, swindler, 
hoaxer : Fr., goureur (1592). 

Cross- biting. A deception, cheat, 
hoax (1576). 

Cross- buttock. A throw in wrest- 
ling. Also as verb and verbal subs. 

Cross - crib. A thieves' dossing- 
ken (q.v.) : or Lush-crib (q.v.) : also 

Cross- fan (or Cross- f am). Robbery 
from the person done with one hand 
(fam) across, dissembling the action 
of the other. As verb, to rob from 
the person. 

Cross - kid (or Cross- quid). To 
question, cross-examine : Fr., faire la 
jactance, also faire saigner du nez. 

Cross-patch, subs, (colloquial). 
An ill-natured, ill-tempered person : 
cf. old nursery rhyme : ' Cross-patch, 
draw the latch, Sit by the fire and 
spin' (1785). 

Crow. 1. A confederate on 
watch whilst another steals : generally 
a man, but occasionally a woman : 
the latter is also called a Canary (q.v.). 




2. A piece of unexpected luck ; a 
duke : generally a regular crow. 
[Originally billiards, in which it<=a 
hazard not played for, i.e. a fluke ; no 
doubt a corruption of the Fr., raccroc.] 

3. A parson. To eat crow : see Broiled 
crow. A crow to pluck (putt, or pick) 
with one, something demanding ex- 
planation : a misunderstanding to 
clear ; a disagreeable matter to settle : 
sometimes, a bone to pick (1593). 

Crowd. A fiddle. 

Crowder. 1. A large audience. 
2. A fiddler. 

Crow-eater. A lazybones who pre- 
fers subsisting upon what he can pick 
up, as crows do, to putting himself to 
the trouble of working for it. 

Crow- fair. A gathering of clergy- 

Crown. To inspect a window with 
a view to burglary. 

Crown-office. The head (1785). 

Crow's - foot. The Government 
broad arrow ; also (in pi.) wrinkles at 
the outside corners of the eyes. 

Cruel (or Cruelly). Extremely, 
very, great (1662). 

Cruelty - van for Booby - hutch). 
A four-wheeled chaise. 

Crug (Christ's Hospital). 1. At 
Hertford, a crust ; in the London 
school, crust and crumb alike (1820). 
Hence, 2. a Blue (q.v.): especially an 
old boy. 

Cruganaler (Christ's Hospital). A 
biscuit given on St. Matthew's Day. 
[Orthography dubious. Blanch in- 
clines to the following derivation : 
' The biscuit had once something to do 
with those nights when bread and beer, 
with cheese, were substituted for 
bread-and-butter and milk. Thence 
the term " crug and aler." The only 
argument against this is the fact that 
the liquid was never dignified with the 
name of ale, but was invariably called 
" the swipes." By another deriva- 
tion=" hard as nails." It is then 
spelt Cruggy-nailer.'] 

C r u g g y (Christ's Hospital). 

Cruisers. 1. Beggars, or highway 
spies : those who traversed the road 
(Grose) to give intelligence of a 
booty ; also, rogues ready to snap 
up any booty that may offer. 2. In 
sing., a street- walker. 

Crumb. A pretty woman: cf. 

Crumb-and-crust Man. A baker: 
cf. Burn-crust and Master of the 
rolls : FT., marchand de larton. 

Crummy. 1. Fat, plump, well- 
developed : especially said of high- 
bosomed and full - figured women : 
e.g. a crummy piece of goods. 
Fr., fort en mie (an almost literal 
translation) (1748). 2. (American), 
comely. 3. Lousy. Hence, Crummy- 
dost, a lousy bed. 4. (thieves'). 
Plump in the pockets. 

Crump (Winchester College). 
A hard hit, a fall : as a verb, to cob 

Crumpet. The head. English 
synonyms : brain-pan, nut, chump, 
jazey, steeple, tib or tibby, weather- 
cock, turnip, upper extremity, top 
end, twopenny, upper storey, canister, 
attic, garret, costard, sconce, bonce, 
nob, lolly, lobb, knowledge-box, block, 
cocoa-nut, Crown - Office, calabash, 
top-knot, crust, chimney-pot, onion, 
chevy, cockloft, top-fiat, gable, pump- 
kin, hat-peg, billiard ball, upper-orust, 
mazzard, cabaza, dome. Balmy in 
one's crumpet : see Balmy. 

Crumpet-face. A pock-pitted face, 
a cribbage-face (q.v.). 

Crumpet- scramble. A tea party, 
tea-fight, muffin-worry, muffin-fight, 
bitch-party, or cooky-shine (q.v.). 

C rum pier. 1. A cravat 2. A falL 

Crush. A large social gathering 
(1854). As verb, to run away, de- 
camp: see Bunk. To crush down 
sides, to keep tryst, also to run to a 
place of safety. To crush (or burst) 
a pot (cup, or bottle) to drink in com- 

Crusher. 1. A policeman : cf. 
Crush ! once a favourite signal of the 
pea, thimble, and other race-course 
sharps warning of the approach of the 
police. 2. Anything large, fine, or 
extraordinary : cf. Whopper, Stinger, 
Corker, Bouncer, etc. (q.v.). 

Crushing. Excellent, first-rate. 

Crust (or Upper Crust). The 
head : see Crumpet. Upper-crust (q.v.). 

Crusty- beau. One that uses paint 
and cosmetics to obtain a fine com- 
plexion (Grose). 

Cry. A large number, a quantity. 
[From cry, a pack of dogs.] Great 
cry and little wool, much ado about 
nothing. The original text of the 
proverb was, Great cry and little wool, 
as the devil said when he sheared the 



Curbstone- sailor. 

hogs. Hudibras alters it into All 
cry and no wool. To cry carrots and 
turnips, a term which rogues use for 
whipping at the cart's arse (Johnson, 
1747). To cry (or call) a go, to give in, 
as one unable to proceed. An ex- 
pression borrowed from cribbage signi- 
fying that the player who makes use 
of it has nothing playable in his hand, 
and is compelled to cry a go. To 
cry cupboard, to be famished, hungry, 
banded (q.v.) : FT., rien dans le cornet, 
le buffet vide, and danser devant le 
buffet. Cry matches ! an exclamation 
of surprise. [Variously derived: (1) 
a corruption of ' Crime hatches ' ; (2) 
cry=XPI or Christ, no suggestion 
being offered to account for ' matches' ; 
and (3) a conversion of the FT. ere 
matin, presumably Canadian : cf. 
Crimini.] To cry off, to retreat, back 
out from an engagement. See Stink- 
ing fish. 

C.T.A. (Circus and showmen's). 
The police. 

Cub (or Unlicked-cub). An awk- 
ward, e^lky girl; a mannerless, uncouth 
lout of a boy. [In allusion to the 
supposed shapelessness of bear cubs 
till their dam has ' licked them into 

Cubitopolis. The Warwick and 
Eccleston Square districts. [From the 
name of the builders.] Cf. Alberto- 
polis, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, The 
New Jerusalem, Slopers' Island, etc. 

Cuckoo. 1. A fool: see Buffle. 
(1598). 2. A cuckold (1594). 3. In 
pi., generic for money : see Rhino. 

Cucumber-time. The dull season. 
[A correspondent of Notes and Queries 
says it is of German origin, and 
originated among London tailors of 
German nationality. The German 
phrase is die saure Ourken Zeit (pickled 
gherkin-time). Hence, it is said, the 
expression ' Tailors are vegetarians,' 
because they live now on ' cucumber ' 
and now on ' cabbage'] (Orose). 

Cud. A chew of tobacco, a quid. 
As adj., (Winchester College). 1. 
Pretty, handsome. 2. (Christ's Hos- 
pital), severe : see Cuddy. 

Cuddie. A donkey. 

Cuddling. Wrestling. 

Cuddy (Christ's Hospital). 
Hard, difficult, said of a lesson. Also 
Hertfordic6 for Passy (q.v.). 

Cue. To swindle on credit. 

Cuff. 1. A foolish old man. Prob- 
ably a contraction of Cuffin (q.v.) 
(1678). 2. (tailors'). A religious man. 
To cuff Anthony : see Anthony. To 
beat or cuff Jonas : see Beat. 

Cuff er. 1. A lie, an exaggerated 
and improbable story. Hence, to 
spin cuffers, to yarn, draw the long 
bow (q.v.). 2. A man : see Cove. 

C u ffi n (C u ff e n, or Cuffing). A 
man (Harmon, 1567). Queer-cuffin, a 
magistrate (1609). 

Cuff - shooter. A beginner, one 
who gives himself airs ; literally one 
who shoots his cuffs : having a greater 
regard for the display of his linen than 
for his work. 

Cule (Cull, Culing, Culling). 
To purloin : eepec. from the seats of 
carriages ; the act of snatching hand- 
bags and other articles. [Probably an 
abbreviation of reticule.] 

Cull (or Cully). A man, com 
panion, partner. Specifically, a fool, 
one tricked or imposed upon. Grose 
seems to make a distinction, for he 
quotes cull = ' a man honest or other- 
wise,' and cuDy = ' a fop, fool, or dupe 
to women,' in which sense it was cur- 
rent in the seventeenth century. Hum 
cull, the manager of a theatre ; also 
a Cully-gorger. 

Culls. The testes ( 1 600). 

Culminate. To mount a coach-bol 

Cummer. An intimate. 

Cup-and-saucer Player. A term of 
derision applied to players of the late 
T. W. Robertson's comedies. 

Cupboard-love. Interested affec- 
tion : cf. old saw, The way to a man's 
heart is through his stomach (1661). 

Cups. In one's cups, drunk : cf. 
Cup-shot and Screwed (1593). 

Cup-tosser. A juggler. 

Curate. A small poker, or 
tickler (q.v.), used to save a better 
one ; also a pocket-handkerchief in 
actual use as against a flimsy one worn 
for show. The better article is a 
Rector. Similarly when a tea-cake 
is split and buttered, the bottom half, 
which gets the more butter, is the 
Rector, and the upper half the Curate. 

Curb. To steal : see Prig. (1615). 

Curbstone - broker. See Gutter- 

Curbstone- sailor. A prostitute : see 




Cure, subs, (common). An eccen- 
tric, fool, funny fellow. Originally 
applied in many connections, we 
Punch, xzxL 201 (1856). 

Curious. To do curious, to act 

Curl. Out of curl, out of aorta ; 
out of condition. To curl up, to be 
silent, ' shut up.' To curl one's Jiair, 
to administer chastisement, ' go for ' 
one. To curl one's liver (or to have 
one's liver curled), to make one feel 

Curie. Clippings of money 

Curl-paper. Paper for the W.C., 
toilet paper, ' wipe - bummatory ' 
(Urquhart), or ' sanitary ' paper, 
bumfodder, bumf, ammunition. 

Curly cues (or Carlicues). Fantastic 
ornaments worn on the person or used 
in architecture ; also, by implication, 
a strange line of conduct. 

Currants - and - plums. A three- 
penny bit, thrums (q.v.). 

Currency. A colonist born in 
Australia, those of English birth being 
sterling (q.v.). 

Curse. Not to care (or be worth) a 
curse, to care (or be worth) little or 
nothing at all (1362). 

Curse-of-God. A cockade (Lexicon 

Curse of Scotland. The nine of 
diamonds. The suggested derivations 
are inconclusive. [The locution has 
nothing to do with Culloden and the 
Duke of Cumberland, for the card was 
nicknamed the Justice-Clerk, in al- 
lusion to the Lord Justice-Clerk 
Ormistone, who, for his severity in 
suppressing the Rebellion of 1715, was 
called the Curse of Scotland. Other 
suggestions are : ( 1 ) That it is derived 
from the game of Pope Joan, the nine 
of diamonds there (being called the 
'pope,' of which the Scotch have 
always stood in horror. (2) The 
word ' curse ' is a corruption of cross, 
and the nine of diamonds is so ar- 
ranged as to form a St. Andrew's 
Cross. (3) That it refers to the arms 
of Dalrymple, Earl of Stair (viz. or, 
on saltire azure, nine lozenges of the 
field), who was held in abhorrence for 
the massacre of Glencoe ; or to Colonel 
Packer, who attended Charles I. on the 
scaffold, and had for his arms nine 
lozenges conjoined, or in the heraldic 
language, gules, a cross of lozenges. 

These conflicting views were discussed 
at length in Notes and Queries, 1 8., 
L 61, 90 ; iii. 22, 253, 423, 483 ; v. 
619 ; 3 S., xii. 24, 96 ; 4 S., vi. 194, 
289 ; also, see Chambers' Encyclopaedia.] 

Cursitor (or Cursetor). A tramp or 

Curtain - raiser. A short ' piece ' 
to bring up the curtain : Fr., lever de 

Curtail (or Curtail). A vagabond 
or thief : ' A curtail is much like to the 
Vpright man, but hys authority is not 
fully so great. He vseth commonly to 
go with a short cloke, like to grey 
Friars, and his woman with him in like 
liuery, which he calleth his altham if 
she be hys ' (Awddey, 1560). ' Thieves 
who cut off pieces of stuff hanging out 
of shop windows ; the tails of women's 
gowns, etc. ; also thieves wearing 
short jackets ' (Grose, 1785). As verb, 
to cut off. 

Cuse (Winchester College). A 
book in which a record is kept of the 
' marks ' in each division : its name to 
dons is ' classicus paper ' ; also used 
for the weekly order. 

Cushion. To hide, conceal, Stall 
off (q.v.), Stow (q.v.), Slum (q.v.). 
To deserve the cushion, on the birth of 
a child a man was said to deserve the 
cushion ; i.e. the symbol of rest from 

Cushion - smiter (or - thumper). 
A clergyman. 

Cuss. A man, Cove (q.v.), or Cull 
(q.v.) : generally, but not necessarily, 
disparaging. To cuss out, to talk 
down, flummox by the lip (q.v.). 

Cussedness. Generally in such 
phrases as, pure cussedness, the cus- 
sednees of things, etc. Mischievous- 
ness, or resolution, or courage may 
be implied ; but in the Coventry plays 
cursyanesse signified sheer wickedness 
and malignity. 

Customer. A man, fellow, cove, 
cuss, or chap : with a certain qualifi- 
cation, e.g. an ugly customer = a 
dangerous opponent ; a queer customer 
=a suspicious person, one to be sus- 
pected ; a rum customet = an odd 

Custom-house Officer. An 
aperient piU : cf. Chimney-sweep. 

Cut. 1. A stage or degree : e.g. 
a cut above one. 2. A refusal to 
acknowledge acquaintance, or to 
associate with another person ; a snub. 




A cut direct (or dead cut) is a conspicu- 
ous non-acknowledgment of an ac- 
quaintance. 3. Mutilation of the 
book of a play, opera, etc. (1779). 
As adj., tipsy ; on the cut, on the spree : 
see Screwed (1748). As verb, 1. To talk 
(1567): To cut benle, to speake 
gentle ; to cut bene whydds, to speake 
or give good words ; to cutte quyer 
whyddes, to geue euil words or evil 
language. 2. To disown, ignore, or 
avoid associating with, a person : 
sometimes cut dead. An article in 
the Monthly Magazine for 1798 cites 
cut as a current peculiarity of ex- 
pression, and says that some had tried 
to change it into ' spear,' but had 
failed. 3. To depart more or less 
hurriedly and perforce. Also to cut 
and run, cut it, cut one's lucky, cut 
one's stick, cut off, cut away, etc. 
[Originally nautical to cut the cable 
and run before the wind.] (1570). 
4. To compete in business ; to under- 
sell. A cutting trade is one where 
profits are reduced to a minimum. 
Also cut under. 5. To excel. Also 
cut out. 6. To strike out portions of 
a dramatic production, so as to shorten 
it for representation. 7. To avoid, 
absent oneself from. Thus, to cut 
lecture, to cut chapel, to cut hall, to cut 
gates (1794) are common phrases. To 
cut a caper or capers, to play a trick or 
prank, behave boisterously or fan- 
tastically ( 1 692). To cut a dash, splash 
(or shine), to make a show, attract at- 
tention through some idiosyncrasy of 
manner, appearance, or conduct. In 
the United States to cut a splurge (or 
a swathe), Fr., flamber, faire du flafla, 
and faire flouer (1771). To cut a 
figure, to make an appearance, good 
or bad (1759). To cut and come again, 
to have plenty : i.e. if one cut does 
not suffice, plenty remains to come 
at again (1738). To cut (or cut up) 
didoes (shindies, shines, etc.), to play 
pranks or tricks, to cut capers. To 
cut dirt (or cut one's stick, lucky), to 
make off, escape. To cut fine, to 
narrow down to a minimum. To cut 
in, to join in suddenly and without 
ceremony, intrude, chip in (q.v.). 
Also substantively (1819). To cut 
into (Winchester College), originally 
to hit one with a ' ground ash.' The 
office was exercised by Bible-clerks 
upon a ' man ' kicking up a row when 
' up to books.' Now generally used in 

the sense of to correct in a less formal 
manner than Tunding (q.v.). To 
cut it, to move off quickly, run away, 
cut dirt (q.v.). As intj., Cease ! 
Stow it! Stash it! A forcible 
injunction to desist and be off. Also 
cut that ! or simply cut I To cut it fat, 
to show off, make a display, come it 
strong, put on side, cut a dash (q.v.). 
To cut mutton, to partake of one's 
hospitality, to break bread with one. 
To cut off one's head (American polit- 
ical) used of an official when his term 
of office has come to an end through 
change of Government, or superces- 
sion in other ways. The cut of one's 
jib, the general appearance. To cut 
one's cart, to expose a trick. To cut 
one's comb, to snub, lower conceit 
(1593). To cut one's eyes, to get 
suspicious. To cut one's eye (or wis- 
dom) teeth, to learn what's what. To 
cut one's own grass, to get one's own 
living, paddle one's own canoe. To 
cut out, to debar, deprive of advan- 
tage, supersede (1779). To cut out of, 
to do out of. To cut saucy : see Saucy. 
To cut short (generally cut it short !) a 
common injunction not to be prolix, 
Stow it ! To cut the line (rope, or 
string), to cut a story short, stop 
yarning. To cut the painter (1) to 
decamp, make off secretly and sud- 
denly. (2) To die : see Hop the twig. 
To cut up, to run down, to mortify 
(1759). (2) To come up, turn up, 
become, show up. (3) To divide 
plunder, to share, to nap the regulars 
(1779). (4) To behave. To cut up 
fat, to leave a large fortune ( 1 824). To 
cut up rough (rusty, savage, stiff, ugly), 
to become quarrelsome or dangerous. 
To be cut up, to be vexed, hurt, de- 
jected : sometimes simply cut. For- 
merly, to be in embarrassed circum- 
stances (1821). 

Cut-away. A morning coat. [As 
compared with a frock coat.] 

Cute. Sharp, clever, ' fly to wot's 
wot.' Fr., avoir le nez creux (1748). 

Cuts. Scissors. 8matt-cuts=s 
button-hole scissors. 

Cutter. A thief, bully. This 
ancient cant word now survives in 
the phrase, to swear like a cutter 

Cutting. 1. The process of under- 
selling ; competition of the keenest 
kind. 2. Disowning or ignoring a 




A knife 

Cutty - eyed. 

(or Cuttle- bung), 
used by cut - purses 

Suspicious looking, 

Cutty. A short pipe, a nose- 
warmer (q.v.). 

C u z. A workman free of the 
* chapel.' 

Cymbal. A watch. 

D. 1. A penny, or (in pi.) pence ; 
e.g. two d, three d, etc.,=two-pence, 
three- pence, etc. 2. A detective ; 
among thieves, any policeman. To 
use a big d, to swear ; the d stands for 
damned. The two fa, army regula- 
tions enact that a soldier's pay must 
not be so docked in fines as to leave 
him less than two - pence a day. 
Hence, if a man, from any cause, is 
put on short pay, he is said to be on 
the tun fs. 

Dab. 1. An expert, a dabster. 
[Thought to be a corruption of adept 
(Latin odeptus) a dep ; a dap ; a dab.] 
Cf. dabbler, one who meddles 
without mastery ; a superficial med- 
dler. Fr., dob, dobe, or dode (1733). 
2. A bed, bug-walk, kip. 3. The 
drowned corpse of an outcast woman. 
4. A trifle (1745). As adj., 1. Clever, 
skilled, expert. 2. Bad. A dobheno, 
a bad market, day, or sale. Doogheno 
=a good day, etc. ; dob frcw=.bad 
sort. JRum-dobe, the same as doh, 
subs., sense 1 : see Rum. To dob 
down, to pay, hand over, poet, 
shell out. To dob it up, to pair off ; 
to agree to cohabitation. 

Dabster. An ex pert or ddb( q.v.). 

Dace. Two-pence ; in America, 
two cents. [From deuce.] 

Dacha-saltee. A franc; ortenpence 
English. [From the Italian died 

Dad binged (also - blamed, -fetched) , 
gasted, -goned, -rotted, or -snatched 
(American), half-veiled oaths, ' whips 
to beat the devil round the stump. 

Dad-dad, (Mum-mum or Daddy- 
mammy). A beginner's practice on the 

Daddle. The hand ; or fist. To 
tip the doddle, to shake hands. English 
synonyms : chalk-farm, claw, clutch, 
cornstealer, duke, fam, famble, feeler, 
fin, flapper, flipper, forceps, forefoot, 
fork, grappling-iron (or hook), goll 
(old), oar, paddle, palette, paw, pber, 
shaker, wing, Yarmouth mitten. 

Daddy. 1. The superintendent of a 
casual ward ; generally an old pauper. 
2. A stage manager. 3. A confederate 
of workers of mock raffles, lotteries, 
etc. ; generally the person selected to 
receive the prize. 

Daddyism. (American). Pride of 

Daffy (or Daffy's Elixir). Gin. 
[From a popular medicine sold as 
early as the beginning of the eighteenth 

Daffy - down - dilly. A dandy, 
one ' got up regardless.' 

Dagen. An artful member. 

Dagger - cheap. Dirt cheap. 
[From an ordinary of low repute in 
Holborn, notorious for the coarseness 
of its entertainment (see Johnson's 
Alchemist, v. 2, and Devil is an Ass, i. 


Dags. A feat, performance, work, 
e.g. 1 11 do your dags=.&r\ incitement 
to emulation. 

Daily Levy (The}. The Daily Tde- 
graph. [This London daily is the 
property of Mr. Edward LevyLawson.] 

Dairy. The paps. To air the 
dairy=to expose the breast. Eng- 
lish synonyms: bubs (or bubbles), 
charlies, blubber, butter-boxes, but- 
ter-bags, berkeleys, cat-heads, diddies, 
globes, dugs, milk-walk, milk-shop, 
milky way, dumplings, udder (Brown- 
ing), ' Nature's founts ', feeding bot- 
tles, charms, hemispheres, apple- 
dumpling shop, meat market, poonts, 
titties, cabman's rests (rhyming), 
baby's bottom. 

Daisies. Boots : also Daisy- 
roots. To turn up one's toes to the 
daisies, to die : see Hop the twig. 

Daisy. A man or thing first-rate 
of a kind. As adj., first-rate, Al. 

Daisy- beat. See Beat 

Daisy- beaters. See Creepers. 

Daisy-cutter. 1. A horse, good or 
bad : also daisy-kicker : Fr., rase tapis 
(1785). 2. A ball bowled to travel 
more than half the pitch along the 


Daisy -kicker. 


ground without rising, a sneak, 
and (Wykehamice), a ramrod. 

Daisy-kicker. 1. A horse. 2. An 
ostler (1781). 

Daisy - roots. Boots. To pick a 

lisy, to evacuate in the open. 

Daisyville. The country, the 
monkery : also Deuseaville (1622). 

Dakma. To silence. 

Darn. To care or be worth not a 
dam, to care or be worth nothing. 

Damage. The cost of anything, 
the sum total in the sense of recom- 
pense. What's the damage (or 
swindle) ? What's to pay ? (1800). 

Damaged. Drunk, Screwed (q.v.). 

Damber. A man, Cove, or Cull, in 
the fraternity of vagabonds. 

Damme (Dammy or Dammy-boy). 
A sixteenth and seventeenth century 
roysterer, a blusterer. 

Dam - nasty Oath (American). A 
corruption of amnesty oath. [South- 
erners, at the close of the Civil War, 
were required, as an outward sign of 
submission to the Union, to subscribe 
to certain conditions, upon which a 
free pardon was granted. The terms 
were deemed unpalatable.] 

Damned - soul. A Custom House 
clearing clerk. [To avoid perjury he 
was alleged to have taken a general 
oath never to swear truly in making 
declarations.] (Lexicon Balatroni- 
cum, 1811). 

Damp (generally Something damp). 
A drink, go (q.v.). To damp one's 
mug, to drink : see Lush. To damp 
the sawdust, to crack a bottle with 
friends for luck on starting a new 

Damper. 1. A till, Lob (q.v.). 
Drawing a damper, robbing a till, 
Lob-sneaking. 2. A sweater ; one who 
takes as much as possible out of work- 
men for a minimum of pay. 3. He or 
that which damps, chills, or dis- 
courages. 4. Ale or stout after spirits 
and water, a Cooler (q.v.). 5. A 
snack between meals. 6. A suet 
pudding served before meat. 7. Un- 
leavened bread made of flour and 
water and baked in thin cakes, in a 
frying pan or on a flat stone in wood 
ashes (Australian). 

Damp- pot. The sea ; specifically 
the Atlantic. 

Damson-pie. A Birmingham 
and ' black country ' term for ' Bil- 

Dance. A staircase, flight of steps : 
a contraction of the older form 
Dancers. As verb, 1. To be hanged : 
also to dance upon nothing, and to 
dance the Paddington frisk : see 
Ladder. 2. Type dances if letters 
drop out when the forme is lifted. 
To dance Barnaby, see Barnaby. 

Dance of Death. Hanging. 

Dancers. 1. Stairs, flight of 
steps: Fr., les grimpants (1671). 2. 
(sing.) Also dancing master. A thief 
whose speciality is prowling about the 
roofs of houses and effecting an 
entrance through attic and upper 
storey windows ; a garreteer (q.v.) : 
also dancing -master. 

Dancing-master. 1. A species of 
Mohock or dandy, temp. Queen Anne. 
[Who made his victims caper by 
running his sword through the legs ; 
for detailed description, see Spectator 
(1712), No. 324.] 2. See Dancers, 
sense 2. 3. The hangman, Jack 
Ketch (q.v.). 

D-and-D. Drunk and disorderly. 

Dander. Anger. To raise one's 
dander (or get one's dander up, or riz), 
to make or get angry. Hence Dan- 
dered, angry, mad. 

D a n d o. A great eater, glutton, 
wolfer ; specifically a sharper who sub- 
sits at the expense of hotels, restaur- 
ants, or oyster bars. [From one 
Dando, a bouncing, seedy swell, 
hero of a hundred ballads, notorious 
for being charged at least twice a 
month with bilking.] 

Dandy (formerly slang, now re- 
cognized). 1. A fop, coxcomb, man 
who pays excessive attention to dress. 
The feminine forms, ' dandilly ' and 
' dandizette,' did not catch on. 
Dandy was first applied half in admira- 
tion, half in derision to a fop about the 
year 1816. John Bee (Slang Diet., 
1823) says that Lord Petersham was 
the chief of these successors to the 
departed Macaronis, and gives, as 
their peculiarities, ' French gait, 
lispings, wrinkled foreheads, killing 
king's English, wearing immense 
plaited pantaloons, coat cut away, 
small waistcoat, cravat and chitter- 
lings immense, hat small, hair frizzled 
and protruding.' In common English 
dandy has come to be applied to such 
as are neat and careful in dress- 
ing according to fashion. English 
synonyms : beau, blade, blood, buck, 




chappie, corinthian, count, court-card, 
cheese, daffy-down-dilly, dancing- 
master, dude, dundreary, exquisite, 
flasher, fop, gallant, gommy, gorger, 
Jemmy Jessamy, Johnny, lounger, 
macaroni, masher, mohawk, nerve, 
nicker, nizzie, nob, oatmeal, scourer, 
smart, spark, sweater, swell, toff, tip- 
topper, tumbler, yum-yum. 2. A 
base gold coin. [In allusion to its 
careful make and composition, this 
coin containing a certain proportion 
of pure gold.] 3. A ' small whisky.' 
4. Anything first-rate; a Daisy (q.v.). 
Also used adjectively. The Dandy, all 
right, your sort, the ticket : a north- 
country song has the line, ' The South 
Shields lasses are The Dandy 1 ' 

Dandy-master. The head of a gang 
of counterfeiters, one who makes the 
coin but does not himself attempt to 
pass it : see Dandy 2. 

Dandypratt for Dandipratt). Prim- 
arily a dwarf, page ; by implica- 
tion a jackanapes. In all likelihood, 
the etymon of the modern ' dandy,' 
erroneously derived from the French 
dandin, a fool, as in Moliere, Georges 
Dandin (1580). 

Dang it I A euphemism for Damn 
it ! Also Dang my buttons I and 
Dang me I 

Danglers. A bunch of seals. 

Dan Tucker. Butter. 

Darbies. 1. Handcuffs. English 
synonyms : black-bracelets, buckles, 
Father Derbie's bands, ruffles, wife, 
snitchers, clinkers, government se- 
curities, twisters, darbies and Joans 
( = fetters coupling two persons). 2. 
Sausages, bags of mystery, chambers 
of horrors (q.v.). 

D a r b 1 e. The devil. [A corrup- 
tion of French diable.] 

Darby. Ready money. [One 
Derby is supposed to have been a 
noted sixteenth century usurer.] 

Darby Allen (Lancashire). Ca- 
jolery, chaff, gammon. 

Darby - roll. A gait peculiar to 
felons of long standing : the result of 
shackles- wearing. 

Darby's - dyke. The grave ; also 

Darby's-fair. The day of removal 
from one prison to another for trial. 

Dark. To get the dark, to be con- 
fined in the punishment cell. 

Dark-cull (or -cully). A married 
man with a secret mistress (Orose). 

Dark-horse (or Dark'un). A horse 
whose pace is unknown to the backers ; 
figuratively, one about whom little is 

Dark-house, subs. (old). A mad- 
house. Shakespeare (Alfa Well, etc., 
n. iii.) used it to denote the seat of 
gloom and discontent. 

Darkmans (Darks, Darky). The 
night, twilight (1567). English syno- 
nyms: blackmans, bund, blindman's 
holiday (twilight). 

Darkman's - budge. A burglar's 
confederate : he slips into a house 
during the day, hides there, and opens 
the door at night (Grose). 

Darky (or Darkey). 1. A dark 
lantern, bull's eye. 2. The night, 
twilight: also (nautical) Darks. 3, 
A negro : see Snowball. 

Darn (Darned). Euphemistic for 
damn and damned ; used to 
avoid ' cussing bar' -foot.' Also Dor- 
nation, Dangnation, Darn burn it, 
and Darn (or Dash) my buttons (or 

Dart. A straight-armed blow. 

D.A.'s. The menstrual flux: an 
abbreviation of Domestic afflictions 

Dash. 1. A tavern waiter. 2. (com- 
mon). A small quantity, a drink ; 
a go (q.v.). Also a small quantity 
of one fluid to give a flavour to another 
e.g. a lemon and a dash, a bottle of 
lemonade with just a suggestion of 
bitter beer in it. As verb, to adulterate 
Dash it I (or dash my buttons, wig, 
timbers, etc.) Expletives employed 
euphemistically, i.e. to damn. To 
cut a dash : see Cut. To have a dash 
on, to speculate largely or wildly, to 
go it strong. 

Dasher. 1. A showy prostitute. 
(1790). 2. An ostentatious or extra- 
vagant man or woman, an impetuous 
person, a clipper ; also latterly, a 
man or woman of fashion, a person of 
brilliant qualities, mental or physical : 
Fr., genreux-se. 

Daub. 1. An artist 2. A bad 

David. 1. See Davy. 2. (Ameri- 
can). A torpedo. 

David's Sow. Drunk as David's 
(or Davy's) sow, beastly drunk : see 

Davy. 1. An affidavit: e.g. So 
help (or s'wdp) me davy, or Alfred 
Davy (q.v.): Fr., Je fen foiu mon 




billet or mon petit turlututu, I'll take 
my davy on it (1764). Davy Jones, 
Davy, or Old Davy, the spirit of the 
sea, specifically the sailor's devil 
(1751). Whence, Davy Jones' locker, 
the ocean, specifically, the grave of 
them that perish at sea. The popular 
derivation ( = a corruption of Jonah's 
locker, i.e. the place where Jonah 
was kept and confined, and by im- 
plication the grave of all gone to the 
bottom, drowned or dead) is con- 
jectural. Davy putting on the coppers 
for the parsons, the indications of a 
coming storm. Davy Jones' natural 
children, smugglers, sea-rovers, pirates. 
Davy's-dust. Gunpowder. 3^ 
Dawb (or Daub). To bribe. 
Daylight. A glass that is not a 
bumper, skylight (q.v.): obsolete. 
To burn daylight, to use artificial 
light before it is really dark, to waste 
time (1595). To let (or knock) day- 
light into one (into the victualling de- 
partment, or into the luncheon reservoir), 
to stab in the stomach, and, by im- 
plication, to kill : Fr., bayafer. 

Daylights. 1. The eyes. To 
darken one's daylights, to give a black 
eye, sew up one's sees (1752). 2. In 
sing., the space in a glass between 
liquor and brim : inadmissible in 
bumpers at toasts : the toast-master 
cries ' no daylights nor heeltaps ! ' 

Deacon. To pack fruit, vegetables, 
etc., the finest on the top : cf. Yankee 
proverb, All deacons are good, but 
there is odds in deacons. To deacon 
a calf, to kill. To deacon land, to 
filch land by gradually putting back 
one's fences into the highway or other 
common property. To deacon off, to 
give the cue, lead in debate. [From 
a custom, once universal but now 
almost extinct, in the New England 
Congregational churches. An im- 
portant function of the deacon's 
office was to read aloud the hymns 
given out by the minister one line at a 
time, the congregation singing each 
line as soon as read. This was called 
deaconing off.] 

Deacon - seat. In log cabins the 
sleeping apartment is partitioned off 
by poles. The bed is mother earth, 
the pillow is a log, the foot-board a 
long pole six feet from the fire and in 
the centre of the cabin. The deacon 
seat is a plank fixed over and running 
parallel with the footboard so as to 

form a kind of settee in front of the 
fire. [Probably in allusion to the 
seats round a pulpit, facing the con- 
gregation, reserved for deacons.] 

Deacon's Hiding-place. A private 
compartment in oyster saloons and 
cafes ; Fr., cabinet particulicr. 

Dead. An abbreviation of dead 
certainty. As adj., stagnant, quiet 
(of trade), flat (as of beer or aerated 
waters after exposure), cold, good, 
thorough, complete (1602). Dead as 
a door nail (mutton, a herring, a tent- 
peg, Julius Ccesar, etc.), utterly, com- 
pletely dead. Dead as a door-nail is 
found in Langland's Piers Plowman 
[1362] ; all other forms are modern. 
In dead earnest, without doubt, in 
very truth. Dead against, decidedly 
opposed to. Dead alive (or Dead- 
and-alive), dull, stupid, mopish, for- 
merly deadly - lively. Dead - amiss, 
incapacitated through illness from 
competing in a race : of horses. Dead- 
beat, a sponger, loafer, sharper. 2. 
A pick-me-up compounded of ginger, 
soda, and whisky. As verb, to 
sponge, loaf, cheat. As adj., ex- 
hausted. Dead broke, utterly penni- 
less, ruined : also flat (or stone) broke ; 
used verbally, to dead break. Eng- 
lish synonyms: wound up, settled, 
coopered, smashed up, under a cloud, 
cleaned out, cracked up, done up, on 
one's back, floored, on one's beam 
ends, gone to pot, broken-backed, all 
U. P., in the wrong box, stumped, 
feathered, squeezed, dry, gutted, 
burnt one's fingers, dished, in a bad 
way, gone up, gone by the board, 
made mince meat of, broziered, wil- 
lowed, not to have a feather to fly 
with, burst, fleeced, stony, pebble- 
beached, in Queer Street, stripped, 
rooked, hard up, broke, hooped-up, 
strapped, gruelled. 

Dead-cargo. Booty of a disappoint- 
ing character. 

Dead-certainty. That which is sure 
to occur ; usually contracted to Dead 
or Cert, both of which see. Dead cut, 
see Cut. 

Dead-duck. That which has depre- 
ciated to the verge of worthlessness. 

Deader. 1. A funeral, black - job 
(q.v.). 2. A corpse. 

Dead - frost. A fiasco, Columbus 
(q.v.) : Fr., four noir, 

Dead-head (Dead-beat or Dead- 
hand). One who obtains some* 




thing of commercial value without 
special payment or charge ; spec, a 
person who travels by rail, visits 
theatres, etc., by means of free paaiei. 
Also as verb. 

Dead-heat A race with an equal 
finish : formerly dead (1635). 

Dead-horse. 1. Work, the wages for 
which have been paid in advance ; 
by implication, distasteful, or thank- 
less labour : Fr., bijouterie. To pull 
the dead horse, to work for wages al- 
ready paid : Fr., manger du soli ( 1651 ). 
2. (West Indian). A shooting star. 
Among Jamaican negroes the spirits 
of horses that have fallen over pre- 
cipices are thought to re-appear in 
this form. To flog the dead hone, to 
work to no purpose, dissipate one's 
energy in vain, make much ado 
about nothing. 

Dead-letter. Anything that has 
lost its force or authority by lapse of 
time or other causes (1775). 

Deadlights. The eyes. 

Dead - lurk. The art of entering 
dwelling-houses during divine service 
(May hew). 

Deadly. Very, extremely, ex- 
cessively : e.g. So deadly cunning 
a man (Arbuthnot). 

Deadly-lively. Jovial against the 
grain and to no purpose. 

Deadly-nevergreen. The gallows, 
The leafless tree, The tree that bears 
fruit all the year round : see Nubbing- 

Dead-man. 1. An emply bottle: 
said to bear Moll Thompson's mark 
(i.e. M.T.=empty). English syno- 
nyms : camp-candlestick, fellow-com- 
moner, corpse, dummy, dead marine, 
dead recruit, dead 'un. 2. A loaf, 
over-ch irged, or marked down though 
not delivered. In London, dead 'un 
is a popular term for a half-quartern 
loaf. Also, by implication, a baker 
(1819). 3 (tailors'). In pL, Misfits ; 
hence, a scarecrow. 

Dead man's - lurk. Extortion of 
money from the relatives of deceased 

Dead - meat. A corpse. English 
synonyms : cold meat, pickles (medical 
students' : for specimens direct from 
the subject), croaker, stiff, stiff 'un, 
dustman, cold pig. See Cold-meat 

Dead - m e n's - shoes. A situa- 
tion, property, or possession formerly 

occupied or enjoyed by a person 
who is dead and buried. Waiting for 
dead men's shoes, looking forward to 
inheritances (1584). 

Dead-nap. A thorough-going 

Dead - nip. A plan or scheme of 
little importance which has turned out 
a failure. 

Dead-oh. In the last stage of intoxi- 
cation : see Screwed. 

Dead - on (or Dead nuts on). 
Originally, having some cause of 
complaint or quarrel ; also, very fond 
of, having complete mastery over, 
sure hand at 

Dead-set A pointed and persist- 
ent effort or attempt (1781). 

Dead Sow's-eye. A badly worked 

Dead-stuck. Said of actors who 
break down in the midst of a perform- 
ance through sudden lapse of memory. 

Dead-swag. Dead stock, or dead 
cargo (q.v.) ; plunder that cannot be 
disposed of. 

Dead-to-rights. Certain, without 

Dead-'un. 1. An uninhabited 
house. The cracksman who confines 
his attentions to ' busting ' of this 
kind is, in Fr., un nourrisseur. 2. A 
half -quartern loaf. 3. A horse des- 
tined to be scratched or not intended 
to win, and against which odds may 
be safely laid; a safe 'un (q.v.). 4. 
An empty bottle. 5. An unpaid 

Dead-unit for (or against). Collec- 
tive advocacy of (or opposition to) a 
subject, principle, or line of action. 

Dead- wo od earnest Quite earnest, 
dead on. 

Dead Wrong-'un. See Wrong 'un. 

Deady (or Dead-eye). Gin ; a 
special brand of full proof spirit, Stark- 
naked (q.v.). [From Deady, a well- 
known gin-spinner.] (1819). 

Deal. There's a deal of glass about, 
said of men and things ; used as a 
compliment^ showy, it's the thing. 
To wet the deal, to ratify a bargain by 
drinking, to ' shake.' To do a deal, to 
conclude a bargain. 

Deal-suit A coffin ; especially one 
supplied by the parish. 

Dean (Winchester College). A 
small piece of wood bound round a 
Bill-brighter (q.v.); that securing a 
faggot is called a Bishop. 




Deaner. A shilling : see Rhino. 

Death. To be death on, very fond 
of, thoroughly master of a metaphor 
of completeness ; the same as Dead 
on, Mark on, or Some pumpkins on. 
To dress to death, to attire oneself in 
the extreme of fashion. In America 
to dress within a inch of one's life ; to 
dress up drunk, and to dress to kill. An 
old Cornish proverb has dressed to 
death like Sally Hatch (N. and Q., 3 
ser., vi. 6). 

Death hunter. 1. A vendor of the 
last dying speeches, or confessions of 
criminals ; a running patterer or 
stationer (1738). 2. An undertaker. 

Death or Glory Boys. See Bing- 
ham's Dandies. 

Debblish. A penny : see Rhino. 

Decent (Decently, Decentish). 
Moderate, tolerable, passably, fairly 

Decoy-bird (or duck). One em- 
ployed to decoy persons into a snare ; 
a Buttoner or Bug-hunter (q.v.) : FT., 
allumeur, chatouilleur, or arrangeur. 

D e c u s. A crown piece : see 
Rhino. [From the Latin motto, 
Decus et tutamen on the rims of these 
coins.] (1688). 

Dee. 1. A pocket-book or reader. 
2. A detective ; also 'tec (q.v.). 3. 
See D, sense 2. 

Deeker. A thief kept in pay 
by a constable (Haggart). 

Deep. Artful, e.g. a deep one: 
cf. Wide (1672). 

Deerstalker. A felt hat : see Gol- 

Deferred-stock. Inferior soup. 

Degen (Degan, or Dagen). A 
sword (1785). 

Delicate. A lurker's (q.v.) false 
subscription book. 

Dell. A young girl, virgin, 
young wanton : later, a mistress : cf. 
Doxy (1567). 

Delog. Gold : see Rhino. 

Delo-nammow. An old woman. 

Delve. To delve it, to hurry with 
one's work, head down and sewing fast. 

Demaunder for Glymmar. ' These 
Demaunders for Glymmar be for the 
moste parte wemen ; for glymmar in 
their language, is fyre. These goe 
with fayned lycences and counter- 
fayted wrytings, hauing the hands and 
seales of suche gentlemen as dwelleth 
nere to the place where they fayne 
them selues to haue bene burnt, and 

their goods consumed with fyre. They 
wyll most lamentable demaunde your 
charitie, and wyll quicklye shed salte 
teares, they be so tender harted. 
They wyll neuer begge in that Shiere 
where their losses (as they say) was ' 

Demi -doss. A penny sleep. 

Demi-rep. A woman of doubtful 
repute. [A contraction of demi- 
reputation. ] ( 1 750). 

Demnition Bow-wows. The 
' dogs ' which spell ' ruin.' Originally a 

Demon (Australian prison). 1. 
A policeman. 2. An adept ; e.g. 
the demon bowler Mr. Spofforth ; 
the demon /oc&ez/ Fordham or Fred 
Archer, and so forth. 

Den. A place where intimates are 
received ; one's diggings, or snug- 

Dennis. A small walking stick. 

Dep. 1. A deputy; specifically the 
night porter or chamberlain at padding 
or doss-kens. 2. (Christ's Hospital). 
A deputy Grecian, i.e. a boy in the 
form below the Grecians. 

D e r r e y. An eyeglass. To take 
the derrey, to quiz, ridicule. 

Derrick. The gallows. [A cor- 
ruption of Theodoric, the name of the 
public hangman at the end of the 
sixteenth and the beginning of the 
seventeenth centuries.] Now the name 
of an apparatus, resembling a crane. 
Also as verb, to hang (1600): see 

Derwenter. A convict. [From the 
penal settlement on the banks of the 
Derwent, Tasmania.] 

Despatchers. False dice with two 
sides, double four, five, and six. 

Desperate (and Desperately), 
generic for excessiveness ; e.g. des 
perately mashed, over head and ears 
in love. 

Detrimental. An ineligible suitor ; 
also a male flirt. 

Detrimental-club. The Reform 

Deuce (Dewce, or Deuse). 1. The 
devil ; perdition. Also used as an 
ejaculation, e.g. the deuce ! what the 
deuce ! who the deuce I deuce take you I 
etc. 2. Twopence : see Rhino (1714). 
3. The two at dice or cards. To play 
the deuce (or devil) with, to send, or 
be sent, to rack and ruin. The deuce 
to pay, unpleasant or awkward con- 



sequences to be faced : see Devil to 

Deuced. Devilish, excessive, con- 
founded. Also adverbially. 

Deusea - ville. The country : see 

Deusea-ville Stampers. Country 

Devil. 1. Formerly, a barrister 
who devils, or gets up, a case for a 
leader; as in A Tale of Two Cities, 
Sydney Carton for Mr. Stryver. Now 
common for any one hacking for 
another. 2. An errand boy or young 
apprentice ; in the early days of the 
craft, the boy who took the printed 
sheets as they came from the press : 
Fr., attrape-acienee (1754). 3. A kind 
of sharpened anchor, at the bows of a 
trawler, for cutting the nets of drifters 
in the North Sea. 4. A firework 
(1742). 5. Gin seasoned with capsi- 
cums. 6. A grilled bone seasoned with 
mustard and cayenne. 7. A sand- 
storm. 8. A species of firewood 
soaked in resin. The (or a) devil of [a 
thin*}], an indefinite intensitive : e.g. 
devil of a mess, of a woman, of a 
row, etc. (1602). American devil, a 
steam whistle or hooter : used in 
place of a bell for summoning to 
work. Blue devils: see ante. Little 
(or young) devil, a half playful, half 
sarcastic, address ; a term of endear- 
ment ; e.g. You little deviL As verb, 

1. To act as a Devil (q.v.), to perform 
routine or regular work for another. 

2. To victimize. What who, when, 
where, or how the devil, an expletive of 
wonder, vexation, etc. To play the 
devil with, to ruin or molest. To 
pull the devil by the tail, to go headlong 
to ruin ; also to be reduced to one's 
last shift. To whip the devil round 
the stump, to enjoy the sweets of 
wickedness and yet escape the penalty. 
Haul devil, putt baker, to contend with 
varying fortunes. And the devU knows 
what (or who), a term used vaguely 
and indefinitely to include details 
not specifically mentioned or known 
(1717). To go to the devil, to go to 
rack and ruin. Go to the devil I Begone ! 
a summary form of dismissal with no 
heed as to what may become of the 
person who is sent about his business. 
To hold a light or candle to (or burn a 
candle before) the devil, to propitiate 
through fear, to assist (or wink at) 
wrongdoing. Shakespeare (' Merchant 

of Venice,' act n. sc. vi.), employs 
' What ! must I hold a candle to my 
shame,' in much the same sense. Not 
fit to hold a candle to the devil, a simile 
of inferiority. To hold a candle to 
another, to assist in, occupy a sub- 
ordinate position, or to compare to 
another (1461). The devil (or the 
devil and all) to pay, a simile of fruit- 
less effort ; awkward consequences 
to be faced. [Nautical : originally, 
There's the devil to pay and no pitch 
hot ; the devil being any seam in a 
vessel, awkward to caulk, or in sailor's 
language ' to pay.' Hence by con- 
fusion, The deuce to pay (q.v.).] 
(1711). Talk of the devil and you'll 
see his horns or tail, said of a person 
who, being the subject of conversation, 
unexpectedly makes an appearance. 
Fr., parlez des anges et vous en voyez 
les ailes (1664). Devil may care, 
rollicking, reckless, rash (1822). DevU 
take (fetch, send, snatch, or fly away 
with) you, me, him I an imprecation 
of impatience. Fr., le boulanger 
fentrotte en son pasclin. There's the 
devil among the tailors, a row is going 
on. [Edwards : Originating in a 
riot at the Haymarket when Dow- 
ton announced the performance, for 
his benefit, of a burlesque entitled 
' The Tailors : a Tragedy for Warm 
Weather.' Many thousands of jour- 
neymen tailors congregated, and 
interrupted the performances. Thirty- 
three were brought up at Bow Street 
next day. See Biographica Drama- 
tica under ' Tailors.'] When the 
devil is blind, never, i.e. in a month 
of Sundays ; said of anything unlikely 
to happen : see Greek Kalends. 

Devil -dodger. A clergyman : also, 
by implication, any one of a religious 
turn of mind (1791). English syno- 
nyms : devil catcher (driver, pitcher, 
or scolder), snub devil, bible pounder, 
duck that grinds the gospel mill, corn- 
mister, camister, sky-pilot, chimney- 
sweep, rat, rum (Johnson), pan tiler, 
cushion smiter (duster, or thumper), 
couple (or buckle) beggar, rook, gospel 
grinder, earwig, one-in-ten (tramps = 
a tithe-monger), finger-post, parish 
prig, parish bull, holy Joe, green 
apron, black cattle (collectively), 
white choker, patrico, black coat, 
black fly, glue pot, gospel postilion, 
prunella, pudding-sleeves, puzzle-text, 
schism - monger, cod, Black Bruns- 




wicker, spiritual flesh-broker, head- 
clerk of the Doxology Works, Lady 
Green, fire-escape, gospel sharp, padre 
(Anglo-Indian), pound-text. 

Devil-drawer. An indifferent 

Devilish. Used intensively : cf. 
Awfully, beastly (1755). 

Devil's Bed-posts (or Four- 
poster). The four of clubs ; held 
to be an unlucky ' turn up.' 

Devil' s-bones. Dice ; also Devil's 
teeth, Devil's books (1664). 

Devil's-books. Cards. [Of Pres- 
byterian origin ; in reproof of a syno- 
nym King's books, or more fully, 
The History of the Four Kings (Fr., 
lime des quatre row).] Also Books of 
Briefs (Fr., la cartouchiere d parties) 

Devil's-claws. The broad arrow on 
convict dress. 

Devil's-colours (or livery). Black 
and yellow. 

Devil's-daughter. A shrew. 
Devil's-delight. To kick up the 
devil's delight, to make a disturbance 

Devil' s-d o z e n. Thirteen ; the 
original of baker's dozen (q.v.). 
[From the number of witches sup- 
posed to sit down together at a ' Sab- 
bath.' Fr., boulanger = the devil.] 

Devil's -dung, subs. (old). Asa- 
f oetida : the old pharmaceutical name 

Devil' s-dust. 1. Old cloth shredded 
for re-manufacture. [In twofold al- 
lusion to the swindle and to the ' dust ' 
or ' flock ' produced by the disinteg- 
rating machine called a ' devil.' The 
practice and the name are old. Lati- 
mer, in one of his sermons before Ed- 
ward the Sixth, treating of trade 
rascality, remarked that manufac- 
turers could stretch cloth seventeen 
yards long, into a length of seven-and- 
twenty yards : ' When they have 
brought him to that perfection,' he 
continues, ' they have a pretty feat 
to thick him again. He makes me a 
powder for it, and plays the pothicary. 
They call it flock-powder, they do so 
incorporate it to the cloth, that it is 
wonderful to consider ; truly a good 
invention. Oh that so goodly wits 
should be so applied ; they may well 
deceive the people, but they cannot 
deceive God. They were wont to 
make beds of flocks, and it was a good 

bed too. Now they have turned 
their flocks into powder, to play the 
false thieves with it.' Popularised by 
Mr. Ferrand in a speech before the 
House of Commons, March 4, 1842 
(Hansard, 3 S., Ixi. p. 140), when he 
tore a piece of cloth made from devil's 
dust, into shreds to prove its worth- 
lessness.] Also Shoddy (q.v.) (1840). 
2. Gunpowder. 

Devil's-guts. A surveyor's chain 

Devil's Own (The). 1. The Eighty- 
Eighth Foot. [A contraction of The 
Devil's Own Connaught Boys, a name 
bestowed by General Picton for 
gallantry in action and irregularity in 
quarters during the Peninsular War, 
1809-14.] 2. The Inns of Court 
Volunteers [in allusion to the legal 
personnel] (1864). 

Devil' s-paternoster. To say the 
devil's paternoster, verb. phr. (old). 
To grumble (1614). 

Devil's-playthings. Cards : also 
Devil's books. 

Devil's-sharpshooter. A cleric who 
took part in the Mexican War. 

Devil's - smiles. April weather, 
alternations of sunshine and rain. 

Devil's - tattoo. Drumming the 
fingers or tapping the floor with one's 
feet, in vacancy or impatience (1817). 
Devil's-teeth. See Devil's-bones. 
[Also to note in this connexion are 
Devil's own boy, a young blackguard ; 
imp of the devil, idem ; Devil's own 
ship, a pirate ; Devil's own luck, un- 
common, or inexplicable good fortune. 
To lead one. the devil's own dance, to 
baffle one in the pursuit of any object ; 
The devil a bit, says Punch, a jocular 
yet decided negative ; and Neat but 
not gaudy, as the devil said when he 
painted his bottom pink and tied up his 
tail with pea green, a locution em- 
ployed of aged ladies dressed in flam- 
ing colours.] 

Deviltry. A vulgarism for 

D e v o r (Charterhouse). Plum 
cake. [From the Latin.] 

Devotional - habits. Said of a 
horse that is apt to ' say his prayers,' 
i.e. to stumble and go on his knees. 

Dew-beaters (dusters, or 
treaders). 1. Pedestrians out early 
in the morning, i.e. before the dew 
is off the ground (1692). 2. The 
feet : see Creepers. 3. Shoes. 


Dew-bit. A snack before break- 

Dew -drink. A drink before break- 
fast : Fr., goutte pour tutr It ver, i.e. 
to drown the maggot, or, to crinkle 
the worm. Not, of course, the early 
worm of the proverb, but his spiritual 
cousin, the worm that never dies. 

Dewitt. To lynch. [The two De 
Witts, opponents of William of Orange, 
were massacred by the mob in 1672, 
without subsequent inquiry.] Cf. 
Boycott, Burke, Cellier (1690). 

Dewse-a-Vyle. The country : see 

Dewskitch. A thrashing. 

Dial (or Dial-plate). The face. To 
turn the hands on the dial, to disfigure 
the face. English synonyms : frontis- 
piece, gills (the jaws), chump (also 
the head), phiz, physog, mug, jib, 
chivy (or chevy), roach and dace 
(rhyming), signboard, door - plate, 

Dials. Convicts and thieves hailing 
from Seven Dials. 

Diamond - cracking. 1. Stone- 
breaking. 2. Coal mining. Cf. Black 

Dibs (or Dibbs). Generic for money : 
see Rhino. [Said to be a corruption 
of diobs, i.e. diobolus, a classic coin= 
2Jd. Another derivation is from the 
hucklebones of sheep, popularly dibbs, 
used for gambling ; Scots ' chuckies.'] 
To brush with the dibs, to abscond with 
the cash ; To tip over the dibs, to pay 
down or shell out ; To flash the dibs, 
to show money, etc. 

Dice. To box the dice, to carry a 
point by trick or swindle. 

Dick. 1. A dictionary, a Richard 
(q.v.) ; also, by implication, fine 
language or long words. 2. A riding 
whip. 3. An affidavit. 4. An Irish 
Catholic : see Crawthumper. As verb, 
to look, Pipe (q.v.) ; e.g. the bulky's 
dicking, the policeman is watching 
you : Fr., gaffer : see Pipe. Dick in 
the green, weak, inferior : cf. Dicky. 
In the reign of Queen Dick, never, 
when two Sundays come in a week : 
see Greek Kalends. To swallow the 
Diet, to use long words without know- 
ledge of their meaning, to high falute 
(American). Up to Dick, not to be 
taken in, artful, fly, wide - awake. 
Also, up to the mark, i.e. perfectly 

Dickens. The devil (q.v.) or 

deuce (q.v.) (1596), used interchange- 
ably. [A corruption of nick (q.v.).] 
For synonyms, see Skipper. 

Dicker (or Dickering). Barter, 
swap (q.v.) : generally applied to trade 
in small articles. 

Dickey. 1. A woman's under pet- 
ticoat 2. A donkey (1766). 3. A 
sham shirt front, formerly a worn-out 
shirt. [Hotten : originally tommy 
(from the Greek, ropy, a section), a 
word once used in Trinity College, 
Dublin.] Also, by implication, any 
sham contrivance (1781). 4. A shirt 
collar (De Fere). 6. A ship's officer 
or mate ; second dickey, i.e. second 
mate. 6. A swell : see Dandy. As 
adj., 1. Sorry, inferior, paltry and poor 
in quality. Dickey domus (theatri- 
cal), a poor house. 2. Smart : cor- 
ruption of Up to dick (q.v.). Att 
dickey with [one'], queer, gone wrong 
all up with (1811). 

Dickey-bird. 1. A louse: see 
Chates. 2. (pi.) Professional singers 
of all grades. 3. A prostitute ; gener- 
ally naughty dickey-bird. 

Dickey-diaper. A linen-draper. 

Dickey-dido. An idiot : see 

Dickey-lagger. A bird-catcher. 

Dickey-sam. A native of Liverpool. 

Diddies. The paps. 

Diddle. 1. Gin : see Drinks. 2. 
A swindle, do. As verb, 1. To 
cheat (1811). 2. (Scots colloquial). 
To shake. 

Diddle-cove. A landlord. 

Diddler. A cheat, a dodger. [Cf. 
Jeremy Diddler, in Kenny's liaising 
the Wind.} Also a chronic borrower. 

Didoes. Pranks, tricks, fantastic 

Die (or Dee). A pocket book. To 
die in one's boots (or shoes). 1. To be 
hanged: see Ladder (1653). 2. To 
' die standing ' : at work, in harness, 
in full possession of one's faculties. 
See Cotton. 

Die - by - the - Hedge. The flesh 
of animals deceased by accident or of 
disease ; hence, inferior meat. 

Die - Hards. The Fifty-Seventh 
Foot. [From the rallying call at 
Albuera (1811) its Colonel (Inglis) 
calling to the men, ' Die hard, my men, 
die hard,' when it had thirty bullets 
through the King's Colour, and only 
had one officer out of twenty-four, and 
one hundred and sixty-eight men out 




of five hundred and eighty-four, when 
left standing.] 

Dig. 1. A blow, thrust, punch, or 
poke ; in pugilism, a ' straight left- 
hander ' delivered under the guard on 
the 'mark' (1819). Also as verb. 
English synonyms : auctioneer, biff, 
bang, buck-horse, buster, chatterer, 
chin - chopper, chopper, clip, click, 
clinker, clout, cock, cork, comber, 
cuff, cant, corker, dab, downer, douser, 
ding, domino, floorer, ferricadouzer, 
fibbing, facer, flush - hit, finisher, 
gooser, hot 'un, jaw-breaker, lick, 
mendoza, muzzier, noser, nobbier, 
nose-ender, nope, oner, punch, stock- 
dollager, stotor, spank, topper, twister, 
whack, wipe. 2. A diligent student : 
(by implication from the verb (q.v.) ; 
also study ; e.g. to have a dig at Caesar 
or Livy ; as verb, to work hard ; especi- 
ally to study. To dig a day under the 
skin, to make one shave serve two 
days. To dig up the hatchet : see Bury. 

Digester. See Patent digester. 

Digged. See Jigged. 

Diggers. 1. Spurs, persuaders 
(1789). 2. The spades suit: also 
Diggums. Big digger, ace of spades. 
3. The finger nails. 

Diggers' -delight. A wide-brimmed 
felt hat : see Golgotha. 

Diggings. A place of residence or 
employment. [First used at the 
Western lead mines in the U.S.A. to 
denote whence ore was dug.] Eng- 
lish synonyms : birk, box, case, crib, 
chat, den, dry-lodgings, drum, place, 
pig-sty, pew, cabin, castle, chafimg- 
crib, caboose, sky-parlour, shop, ken, 
dossing - ken, hole, rookery, hutch, 

Diggums. 1. A gardener. 2. 
The suit of spades ; also Diggers (q.v.). 

Dilberries. Fcecal and seminal 
deposits : clinkers. 

Dilly. A night cart ; formerly 
a coach. [Fr., diligence.} 

Dilly-bag. A wallet, scran-bag. 

Dilly - dally. To loiter, hesitate, 
trifle (1740). 

D i m b e r. Pretty, neat, lively, 
scrumptious, natty. Fr., batif, fignole, 
girofte. Dimber cove, a sprightly man, 
a gentleman. Dimber mort, a pretty 

Dimber - damber. A captain of 
thieves or vagrants. 

Dimmock. Generic for money : see 

Dinahs. Edinburgh and Glasgow 
Railway Ordinary Stock. 

Dinarly (or Dinali) Money : gen- 
eric : see Rhino. Nantee (or Nanti 
Dinarly), no money : Sp., dinero ; 
Lingua Franca, niente dinaro, not a 

Dine. To dine out, to go dinnerless. 
To dine with Duke Humphrey, Take a 
Spitalfields breakfast (or an Irishman's 
dinner), go out and count the railings. 
Fr., Se coucJier bredouUle (to go to bed 
supperless) ; oiler voir de filer lea dragons 
(to go and watch the dragoons march 
past) ; diner en ville (to dine in town : 
i.e. to munch a roll in the street or to 
eat nothing), lire le journal. 

Ding. To knock, strike down, 
pound, or give way : also to get rid 
of, pass to a confederate, steal by a 
single effort. To ding a castor, to 
snatch a hat and run with it : the 
booty being dinged if it has to be 
thrown away. Going upon the ding, to 
go on the prowl. Ding the tot ! run 
away with the lot ! (1340). 

Ding-bat. Money : see Rhino. 

Ding-boy. A rogue, bully (Grose). 

Ding-dong. To go at it (or to it) 
ding-dong, to tackle with vigour, or in 
right good earnest. Formerly, helter- 
skelter (Grose, 1785). 

Dinge (Royal Military Academy). 
A picture or painting. 

Dinged. Darned (damned), some- 
times Ding-goned. 

Dinger. 1. A thief who throws 
away his booty to escape detection : 
see Ding. 2. In pi., cups and balls ; 
Fr., gobdets et muscades. 

Ding-fury. Huff, anger. 

Ding-goned. See Dinged. 

Dingle. Hackneyed, used up 

Dining - room. The mouth : see 
Potato - trap. Dining - room chairs, 
the teeth ; also Dinner-set (q.v.) : see 

Dining-room Post. Petty pilfering 
by sham postmen. 

Dink. Dainty, trim ( 1 794). 

Dinner-set. The teeth. Your 
dinner-set wants looking to, you need 
to go to the dentist. 

Dip. 1. A pickpocket ; also Dip- 
per and Dipping-bloke : see Stook- 
hauler. 2. A stolen kiss, especially 
one snatched in the dark. 3. (West- 
minster School). A pocket inkstand- 
4. A candle made by dipping the wick 




in tallow. As verb ( 1 ) To pick pockets 
To dip a lob, to rob a till : also to go on 
the dipe, to go pocket-picking : see 
Frisk. (2) To pawn, mortgage ( 1 093). 
(3) To be convicted, get into trouble. 
To dip one's beak, to drink : see Lush. 

Dipe. See Dip. 

Dipped. Dipped in the wing. 

Dipper. 1. A baptist (Grose). 2. 
See Dip. 

Dipping-bloke. See Dip. 

Dips. 1. A purser's boy. 2. A 

Dipstick. A gauger. 

Dirt. Money : generic : see Rhino. 
To eat dirt, to submit to insult, eat 
broiled crow, or humble pie (q.v.) ; to 
retract. To fling dirt (or mud), to 
abuse, vituperate (1689). To cut 
dirt. See Cut. 

Dirt-baillie. An inspector of 

Dirt - scraper. An advocate who 
rakes up unpleasant facts in a witness's 

Dirty -dishes. Poor relations. 

Dirty Half-Hundred. The Fiftieth 
Foot. [From the fact that, in action, 
during the Peninsular War, the men 
wiped their faces with their black fac- 
ings.] Also the Blind Half- Hundred. 

Dirty-puzzle. A slut (Orose). 

Dirty -shirt March. On Sunday 
mornings the male population of Drury 
Lane, Whitechapel, and other crowded 
districts loaf about the streets, before 
attiring themselves in their Sunday 
clothes. This promenade is called a 
Dirty-shirt march. 

Dirty-shirts. The Hundred 
and First Foot. [They fought in 
their shirt-sleeves at Delhi in 1867.] 

Disgruntled. Offended : colloquial 
in U.S.A. Undisgruntled, unoffended. 

Disguised. Drunk : see Screwed 

Dish. To cheat, circumvent, dis- 
appoint, to ruin (1798). 

Dish-clout. A dirty-puzzle, 
slattern. To make a napkin of one's 
dish-clout, to marry one's cook, con- 
tract a mesalliance (Orose). 

Dished. Said of electrotypes when 
the centre of a letter is lower than 
its edges. 

Dismal-ditty. A psalm sung by a 
criminal at the gallows. 

Dispar (Winchester College). See 

Dispatches. False dice; con- 
trived always to throw a nick. See 

Dissecting - job. Garments re- 
quiring extensive alterations. 

Distiller. A man easily vexed, 
and unable to dissemble his condition. 

Ditto-blues (Winchester College). 
A suit of clothes all of blue cloth : 
cf. Dittoes. 

Ditto Brother (or Sister) Smut. 
See Brother Smut. 

Dittoes. A complete suit of clothes 
of tLe same material. Fr., un com- 
plet. Occasionally applied to trousers 

Ditty-bag. A handy bag, used by 
sailors as a ' huswife.' [Deft, Dight 
= neat, active, handy.] 

Dive. A drinking saloon ; also a 
brothel. As verb, to pick pockets : 
see Frisk. Diving, picking pockets 
(1631). To dive into one's sky, to put 
one's hands into one's pockets. To 
dive into the woods, to conceal oneself. 

Diver (or Dive). A pickpocket (as 
Jenny Diver in ' The Beggar's Opera ') 
dip (q.v.): see Thief (1608). 

Divers. The fingers : see Forks. 

Divide. To divide the house with 
one's wife, to turn her out-of-doors. 

Diving-bell. A cellar- tavern : cf. 
Dive : and see Lush-crib. 

Do. 1. A fraud (1812). 2. One'* 
duty, a success, performance of what 
one has to do; once literary (1663). 
As verb, (1) to cheat: see Gammon 
(1789). 2. To punish (q.v.). 3. To 
visit a place ; e.g. to do Italy, to do 
the Row, to do the High (at Oxford), 
etc. Fr., faire is used in the same 
sense ; faire ses Acacias, i.e. to walk 
or drive in the AUee des Acacias. 4. 
To perform, to come (q.v.) ; to do the 
polite, to be polite ; to do a book, to write 
one ; to do the heavy (the grand, or the 
genttel), to put on airs (1767). 6. To 
utter base coin or Queer (q.v.). Do 
as I do, an invitation to drink. See 
Drinks. To do a beer (or a bitter, a 
drink, or a drop), to take a drink. To 
do a bilk. See Bilk. To do a bill, 
to utter an acceptance or bill of ex- 
change. To do a bishop, to parade at 
short notice. To do a bit, to eat some- 
thing : cf. to do a beer. To do a 
bunk (or shift), to ease nature : see 
Bury a quaker, and Mrs. Jones. Also, 
to go away. To do a crib, to break 
into a house, to burgle : Fr., maquiUcr 




une cambriole : see Crack a crib. To 
do a guy (1) to run away, make an 
escape. (2) To absent oneself when 
supposed to be at work. To do a nob, 
to make a collection. To do a pitch : 
see Pitch. To do a rush, see Rush. 
To do a snatch : see Snatch. To do 
a star pitch, to sleep in the open air : 
Fr., loger d la belle ctoUe : see Hedge 
Square. To do a brown : see Brown 
and Bamboozle : also to do brown and 
to do it up brown. To do for (1) to 
ruin: also to kill (1650). (2) To 
attend on (as landladies on lodgers). 
(3) To convict, sentence. Done for, 
convicted. To do or play gooseberry : 
see Gooseberry. To do gospel, to go to 
church. To do the handsome (or the 
handsome thing), to behave extremely 
well to one. To do it away, to dispose 
of stolen goods : also To do the swag 
(q.v.), Fence (q.v.). To do it on the 
B. H., to perform with ease. To do 
it up, to accomplish an object in view, 
obtain one's quest. To do it up in 
good twig, to live an easy life by one's 
wits. To do one proud, to flatter : 
e.g. Will you drink ? You do me 
proud. To do out, to plead guilty and 
exonerate an accomplice. To do over 
(1) to knock down, persuade, cheat, 
ruin (1789). (2) To search a victim's 
pockets without his knowing it : cf. 
run the rule over. To do potty, to 
pick oakum in gaol. To do one's 
business, to kill : see Cook one's goose. 
Also (vulgar), to evacuate. To do the 
downy to lie in bed. Downy flea pas- 
ture, a bed. To do the swag, to sell 
stolen property : Fr., laver la camelote 
or les fourgueroles. To do the trick, to 
accomplish one's object. To do time, 
to serve a term of imprisonment. To 
do to death, to repeat ad nauseam. To 
do to tie to, to be fit to associate with ; 
trustworthy. To do up, to use up, 
finish, quiet. Done up, tired out, 
ruined, sold up: see Floored (1594). 
For the rest, do, like Chuck and Cop, 
is a verb-of-all-work, and is used in 
every possible and impossible connec- 
tion. Thus, To do reason and To do 
right, to honour a toast ; To do a bit of 
stiff, to draw a bill ; To do a chuck, to 
eject, or to go away ; To do a sip 
(back slang), to make water ; To do a 
cat, to vomit ; To do a hall (or a 
theatre), to visit a music hall or a play- 
house ; To do a fluff (theatrical), to 
forget one's part ; To do a pitch (show- 

man's or street artists'), to go through 
a performance ; To do a mouch (or a 
mike), to go on the prowl ; To do a 
grouse, to go questing for women ; To 
do a doss, to go to sleep ; To do a 
cadge, to go begging ; To do a scrap, 
to engage in combat ; to do a rural, to 
' rear ' by the wayside ; etc. Do tell ! 
intj. A useful interjection, for lis- 
teners who feel that some remark is 
expected ; equivalent to the English 
Really ? and Indeed ? A similar 
phrase in the South is the old English, 
You don't say so ? which a Yankee 
will vary by, I want to know ! Do 
tell is also used with inexperienced 
Munchausens who by its means may 
often be lured to repeat themselves 

Doash. A cloak : see Capella. 

Dobbin. Ribbon. Dobbin rig, 
stealing ribbon. 

Dock. 1. The weekly work bill or 
Pole (q.v.). 2. The hospital. Aa 
verb, (1) (Winchester College), to 
scratch out, tear out (as from a book) ; 
also to strike down. To go into dock, 
to undergo salivation. 

Docker. 1. A brief handed to 
counsel by a prisoner in the dock. 
Legal etiquette compels acceptance if 
' marked ' with a minimum fee of 
1, 3s. 6d. 2. A dock labourer. 

Dock -walloper. A loafer ; one who 
loiters about docks and wharves ; also 
an unemployed emigrant. 

Dockyarder. A skulker : cf. Straw- 
yarder (q.v.). 

Dockyard-horse. An officer better 
at correspondence than at active 

Doctor. 1. A false die ; sometimes 
a manipulated card. To put the 
doctor on one, to cheat. 2. An adulter- 
ant. To keep the doctor, to make a 
gractice of adulterating liquor. 3. 
rown sherry. [Because a doctored 
(q.v). wine.] 4. A ship's cook. 6. 
(Winchester College). The head 
master. 6. The last throw of dice or 
ninepins. As verb, (1) to patch, adul- 
terate, falsify, cook. (2) To poison a 

Doctor Draw-fart. A wandering 

Doctored. Patched, adulterated, 
falsified, cooked. 

Dod-burn it I A euphemistic oath ; 
on the model of Dadbinged (q.v.). 

Dodder. Burnt tobacco taken 




from the bottom of a pipe and placed 
on the top of a fresh plug to give a 
stronger flavour. 

Dodderer. A meddler; always in 
contempt. Sometimes doddering old 
sheep's head, which also=a fool. 

D o d d y. In Norfolk a person of 
low stature. Sometimes hodmandod 
and hoddy-doddy, ' all head and no 
body.' Dodman (dialect), a snail. 

Dodfetched. A euphemistic oath. 
Most of its kind have originated in 
New England, where the descend- 
ants of the Puritans form the largest 
portion of the population. 

Dodgasted. See Dodfetched. 

Dodge. To trick, swindle, elude. 
Used in various combinations : The 
pious dodge, a pretence of piety ; The 
tidy-dodge, begging in the streets with 
tidily but poorly dressed children, 
etc. Also, Nart (1708) : see Lay. 

Dodger. 1. A trickster : e.g. the 
' Artful Dodger ' (Dickens, Oliver 
Twist, ch. viii.) : FT., etre ficelle, to be 
a dodger (1611). 2. A dram; pro- 
vincially, a nightcap : see Go. 3. A 
hard-baked cake or biscuit : usually 
corn - dodger, or when mixed with 
beef, beef-dodgers. 4. A handbill. 

Dodo. A stupid old man. 

Dodrotted. A euphemistic oath. 

Does. Does it ? A sarcastic 
retort. Does your mother know you're 
out ? A popular locution, vague as 
to meaning and inexact in application 
an expression expressive of con- 
tempt, incredulity, sarcasm, anything 
you please. English variants: Has your 
mother sold her mangle ? Not to- 
day, or it won't do, Mr. Ferguson ! 
Sawdust and treacle ! Draw it mild ! 
And the rest ! Who are you T All 
round my hat ! Go it, ye cripples ! 
Shoo, fly ! How does the old thing 
work ? Well, you know how it is 
yourself ! How's your poor feet ? 
Why, certainly ! I'll have your 
whelk ! Not to-day, baker, call to- 
morrow, and we'll take a crusty one ! 
Do you see any green in my eye ? 
Put that in your pipe and smoke it ! 
Where are you going on Sunday T 
Go to Putney ! Who stole the donkey : 
the man in the white hat ! Cough, 
Julia ! Over the bender ! There you 
go with your eye out ! etc., etc. 

Dog. 1. A man; sometimes used 
contemptuously (cf. Cat, a woman), 
but more frequently in half-serious 

chiding ; e.g. a sad dog, gay dog, old 
dog, etc. : see Cove. Sometimes 
adjectively male ; An old dog at 
it, expert, or accustomed to (1596). 
2. A burglar's iron : see Jemmy. To 
go (or throw) to the dogs, see Go and 
Demnition Bow-wows. Hair of the 
dog that bit you : see Hair. To blush 
like a blue dog : see Blush. Dog biting 
dog, said of actors who spitefully 
criticise each others' performance. 
Dog in a blanket, a pudding of pre- 
served fruit spread on thin dough, 
rolled up, and boiled ; also Roly-poly 
and Stocking. Like a dog in shoes, a 
pattering sound ; as the noise of a 
brisk walk. Dog in the manger, a 
selfish churl ; who does not want 
himself, yet will not let others enjoy. 
[From the fable.] (1621). To go to 
the dogs : see Go. To let sleeping dogs 
lie : see Sleeping dogs. 

Dogberry. A magistrate or stupid 
constable : see Beak and Copper. 
[From Much Ado about Nothing.] 

Dog-cheap. Very cheap, of little 
worth, foolish. [Skeat : from Swed., 
dog, very ; Latham : the first syllable 
is god = good, transposed + cheap, 
from chapman, a merchant hence, 
a good bargain.] Fr., bon marchc 

Dog-collar. A stand-up shirt 
collar, an all-rounder (q.v.). 

Dog-drawn (old), adj., phr. Said 
of a bitch from which a dog baa been 
removed by force. 

Dogger (Charterhouse). To 
cheat, sell rubbish. 

Doggery. 1. Transparent cheating : 
cf. Dogger. [Carlyle in Frederick uses 
doggery = the doings of a scurvy set of 
soldiers.] 2. A low drinking saloon. 

Doggoned. A euphemistic oath. 

Doggy. A batty in the mining 
districts is a middleman ; a doggy is 
his manager. As adj., (1) Connected 
with, or relating to dogs. (2) Stylish. 

Dog - Latin. Barbarous or sham 
Latin ; also Kitchen, Bog, Garden, or 
Apothecaries' Latin. 
Dogs. 1. Sausages; otherwise bags' 
of mystery (q.v.), or chambers 
of horrors (q.v.). 2. Newfoundland 
Land Company's shares; now amal- 
gamated with the Anglo - American 
United, and called Anglos. 
' Dog's-body. Pease pudding. 

Dog's-eared. Crumpled, as the 
leaves of a page with much reading. 




Dog's-meat. Anything worthless : 
as a bad book, a common tale, a 
villainous picture, etc. 

Dog-shooter. 1. A volunteer. 2. 
(Royal Military Academy). Cadets 
thus term a student who accelerates, 
that is, who, being pretty certain of 
not being able to obtain a commission 
in the engineers, or not caring for it, 
elects to join a superior class before 
the end of the term. 

Dog's -nose. A mixture of gin and 
beer : see Drinks. 

Dog's - paste. Sausage or mince- 

Dog's - portion. A lick and a 
smell, i.e. next to nothing. 

Dog's-sleep. The lightest possible 
form of slumber. 

Dog's-soup. Water: see Adam's 
ale and Fish broth. 

Dog's-tail. The constellation of 
Ursa minor or Little Bear. 

Dog - stealer. A dog-dealer : sar- 

Doldrums. Low spirits; the dumps 
or hump (q.v.). [Properly parts of 
the ocean near the Equator abounding 
in calms and light, baffling winds.] 

Dole (Winchester College). A 
stratagem or trick. [Latin dolus.'] 

D o 1 i fi e r (Winchester College). 
One who contrives a trick. See 

Dollar. A five-shilling piece. 
Half-dollar, half-a-crown, or two 
shillings : see Caroon. 

Dollop. A lot. All the dollop, the 
whole thing. In Norfolk to dollop, to 
dole out ; also to ' plank.' Dolloping, 
throwing down. 

Dolly. 1. A mistress. 2. A piece of 
cloth use as a sponge. As adj . , silly. 

Dolly-mop. A harlot. 

Dolly - shop. A marine store : 
really an illegal pawn-shop and fence 
(q.v.); also leaving-shop. No ques- 
tions are asked ; all goods are received 
on the understanding that they may 
be repurchased within a given time ; 
so much per day is charged ; no 
duplicalo is given ; and no books are 
kept. From the sign of the Black 
Doll (q.v.).] 

Dome. The head : see Crumpet. 

Domestic-afflictions. A woman's 

Dome-stick. A domestic servant. 

Dominie. A clergyman ; also 
(modern Scots), a pedagogue or 

schoolmaster. [Latin dominus, a lord 
or master.] (1616). 

Dominie Do-little. An impotent 
old man. 

Domino ! An ejaculation of com- 
pletion : e.g. for sailors and soldiers 
at the last lash of the flogging ; and 
for 'bus conductors when an omnibus 
is full inside and out ; also, by im- 
plication, a knock-down blow, or the 
last of a series. [From the call at the 
end of a game of dominoes.] 

Domino - box. The mouth : see 

Dominoes. 1. The teeth : see 
Grinders. To sluice one's dominoes, 
to drink. 2. The keys of a piano. 

Domino-thumper. A pianist. 

Dommerar (Dommerer, or Dum- 
merer). A beggar feigning to be deaf 
and dumb; also, a madman (1567). 

Don. An adept ; a swell ; also 
a swaggerer, a man putting on 
side. At the Universities a fellow 
or officer of a college ; whence the 
vulgar usage. [Latin, dominus, a lord, 
through the Spanish title.] (1665). 
As adj., clever, expert, first-rate. 

Dona (Donna, Donny, or Doner). 
A woman : see Petticoat. 

Donaker. A cattle-lifter (1669). 

Done ! An interjection of accept- 
ance or agreement (1602). As adj., 
exhausted, ruined, cheated, convicted. 
[See Do in most of its senses.] 

Done-over. Intoxicated : see 

Donkey. 1. A compositor; press- 
men are Pigs (q.v.). English syno- 
nyms: ass, moke, galley-slave. 2. A 
sailor's chest. 3. A blockhead : see 
Buffle. A penny (twopence or three- 
pence) more, and up goes the donkey, 
an exclamation of derision. [Street 
acrobats' : the custom was to finish off 
the pitch by balancing a donkey at the 
top of a ladder on receipt of ' tuppence 
more ' ; which sum, however often 
subscribed, was always re-demanded, 
so that the donkey never ' went up ' 
at all.] Who stole the donkey ? A 
street cry once in vogue on the ap- 
pearance of a man in a white hat. 
With a similar expression Who stole 
the leg of mutton ? applied to the 
police, it had its rise in a case of 
larceny. To ride the donkey, to cheat 
with weights and measures : also 
Donkey-riding. To talk the hind leg 
off a donkey : see Talk. 




Donkey - drops. Slow roundhand 
bowling, such as is seldom seen in good 
matches, but is effective against boys, 
is known by the contumelious desig- 
nation of donkey-drops. 

Donkey's-ears. An old-fashioned 
shirt-collar with long points. 

Donna. See Dona. 

Donnish (Donnism, Donnishness) 
(University). Arrogant, arrogance 

Donny. See Dona. 

Donovans. Potatoes : cf. Murphy. 
[Donovan, like Murphy, is a common 
Irish patronym.] 

Don's-week. The week before a 
general holiday. 

Don't-name-'ems. Trousers: see 

Don't. Don't you insh you may get 
it, a retort forcible. 

Doodle. A dolt : see Buffle. 

Doodled. Cheated, done (1823). 

Doodle -doo -man. A cockfighter or 

Doog. Good. 

D o o k i e. A penny show or un- 
licensed theatre : cf. Gaff. 

Dookin (Dookering). Fortune- 
telling (1857). Dookin-cove, a fortune 

Door -nail. Dead as a door-nail : 
see Dead. 

Doorsman. See Barker and Clicker. 

Doorstep. A thick slice of bread 
and butter : Fr., fondante. 

Dooteroomus (or Doot). Generic 
for money : see Rhino. 

Dope. To drug with tobacco : also 
doping, the practice. 

Dopey. 1. A beggar's trulL 2. 
(old). The podex. 

Dor (Old Westminster School). 
1. Leave to sleep awhile (Kersey, 
1715). 2. An affront. 

Doras. South-Eastern Railway 
Deferred Ordinary Stock, sometimes 
applied to the ' A ' Stock. 

D o r b i e. An initiate. The Dor- 
bie's knock, a peculiar rap given by 
masons as a signal amongst themselves. 
It may be represented by the time of 
the following notes : 

. rc;r! 

Dorcas. A sempstress ; especially 
one employing herself for charitable 


BM D.'---. 

Dose. 1. A sentence of imprison- 
ment ; specifically three months' hard 
labour. English synonyms : spell, 
time, drag, three moon, length, stretch, 
seven- pennorth, sixer, twelver, lagging. 
2. A burglary. 3. A beating. 4. As 
much liquor as one can hold. To have 
a dose of the balmy, to do a sleep. To 
take a grown man's dose, to take a very 
large quantity of liquor. 

Doss (or Dorse). A bed, lodging ; also 
asleep, or lib (q.v.) (1789). As verb, 
to sleep. English synonyms : to go to 
the arms of Murphy (q.v.). have forty 
winks, go to Bedfordshire, take a little 
(or do a dose) of the balmy, chuck (or 
do) a doss, snooze, go to by- by, read 
the paper, shut one's eyes to think, 
retire to the land of Nod. 

Dosser. One who frequents a 
doss - house (q.v.). 'Appy dossers, 
houseless vagrants who creep in, sleep 
on stairs, in passages, and in empty 
cellars. The dosser, the father of a 

Doss-house (Dossing-crib or ken). 
A common lodging - house : Fr., baa- 
tengue and garno. Doss - money, the 
price of a night's lodging (1838). 

Dossy. Elegant, spiff (q.v.). 

Dot. A ribbon. Dot-drag, a watch 
ribbon (1821). 

Dot - and - Carry - (or Go-) one. 
1. Properly, a man with a wooden leg ; 
by implication, a Hopping-giles or 
Lira ping- Jesus (q.v.): Fr., banban. 2. 
A writing-master or teacher of arith- 
metic (Orose). As verb, to ' hirple ' ; 
especially applied to a person with 
one leg shorter than the other, or, 
with an uneven keel. 

Dot. 1. An item of news. 2. 
Money : see Rhino. 

D o 1 1 e r. A reporter, penny-a- 
liner : see Dot. 

Dottle. The same as Dodder (q.v.). 

Dotty. 1. Feeble, dizzy, idiotic ; 
e.g. Dotty in the crumpet, weak in the 
head ; Dotty in the pins, unsteady on 
the legs. Also 2. subs., a fancy man 
of prostitutes of the lowest type. 

Doubite. A street. 

Double. 1. A trick. 2. An actor 
playing two parts in the same piece ; 
also as a verb (1825). 3. A turning. 
4. Repetition of a word or sentence. 
Double, adj. and adv., is also used 
as an intensitive in many obscene or 
offensive connotations : e.g. Double- 
arsed, large in the posteriors ; Double- 




duggs (and Double-dugged or diddied), 
heavy breasted ; Double - guts (and 
Double - gutted), excessively corpu- 
lent ; Double-hocked, abnormally thick 
ankled ; Double - mouthed, Mouth- 
almighty (q.v.) ; and so forth.] To 
put the double on, to circumvent. To 
tip (or give) the double, to run or slip 
away openly or unperceived ; to 
double as a hare ; formerly to escape 
one's creditors. Also to Tip one the 
Dublin packet : see Amputate (1781). 

Double-back. To go back upon 
oneself, an action, an opinion. 

Double-barrel. A field or opera 

Double-bott omed . Insincere, 
saying one thing and meaning another. 

Double-breasted feet. Club feet : 
also Double-breasters. 

Double-cross (or Double-double). 
Winning or doing one's best to win 
after engaging to lose or Mike (q.v.). 

Double-distilled. Superlative : e.g. 
a double - distilled whopper, a tre- 
mendous lie. 

Double - dutch. Unintelligible 
speech, jargon, gibberish. It was all 
Double - dutch to me, I didn't under- 
stand a word of it. 

Double-event. Backing a horse for 
two races. 

Double - firm. A 10 note : see 

Double-header. A false coin with a 
head on the obverse and reverse, made 
by soldering two split coins. 

Double-juggs. The posteriors 

Double-lines. Ship casualties: from 
the manner of entering at Lloyd's. 

Doubler. A blow in the side or 
stomach, causing a man to bend from 
pain or lack of wind. 

Double - ribbed. Pregnant : see 

Double-shotted. Said of a whisky 
(or brandy) and soda, containing 
twice the normal quatity of alcohol. 

Double-shuffle. 1. A hornpipe step 
in which each foot is shuffled twice in 
succession, the more rapidly and 
neatly the better. 2. A trick or fake- 

Double-slang. See Slangs. 

Doublet. A doctored diamond 
or other precious stone. The face is 
real and this is backed up by a piece of 
coloured glass. Cf. Triplet. 

Double-thumber. A prodigious lie. 

Double-tongued. Mendacious, 
given to change opinions in changing 

Double-tongued squib. A double- 
barrelled gun. 

D o u b 1 e - u p. 1. To punish. 
Doubled-up, collapsed (1819). 2. To 
pair off, chum with. 

Dough. Pudding. 

Dough-baked. Deficient in intel- 
lect. In U.S.A., easily moulded : said 
of politicians (1675). 

Doughy. A baker : see Master of 
the rolls. 

Douse. See Dowse. 

Dover. A made-dish, hash, re- 

Dovers. South Eastern Railway 
Ordinary Stock. 

Dove. A member of St. Catharine's 
College, Cambridge. It is said that 
the members of St. Catharine's Hall 
were first of all called Puritans, 
from the derivation of the name of 
their patroness from KoQuipeiv. The 
dove being the emblem of purity, 
to change a name from Puritans to 
doves was but one short step. Soiled 
dove, a high-class prostitute. 

Dove-tart. A pigeon-pie. (Doo- 
tairt is excellent Scots for the same 
thing.) Cf. Snake-tart, eel pie. 

Dowlas. A draper. [From dowlas, 
now a kind of towelling, but mentioned 
by Shakespeare (' 1 Henry IV.,' m. in'., 
1597) as a material for shirts. Popu- 
larised as a sobriquet by Colman's 
Daniel Dowlas in The Heir at Law. 

Dowling. A compulsory game of 
football. [ow\oe. ] 

Down. 1. Suspicion, alarm, a 
diversion. There is no down, all is 
quiet, it is safe to go on (1821). 2. 
Small beer. Up, bottled beer. As 
adv. (1) dispirited, hard-up, in dis- 
grace. Found in various combina- 
tions : e.g. Down in the mouth (or 
dumps), dejected ; Down on one's 
luck, reduced in circumstances ; Down 
at heel, shabby ; Down at one's back- 
seam, out of luck ; Down to bed- 
rock, penniless, etc., etc. (1608). (2) 
acquainted with, Fly (q.v.), Up to 
(q.v.). Also in combination: down 
to, down on, and down as a hammer 
(1610). (3) Hang-dog. As verb, to 
put on one's back ; whether by force or 
by persuasion. To be down a pit, 
to be very much taken with a part. 
To be (or come) down upon one, to be- 



rate, attack, oppose. Sometimes with 
a tag : e.g. like a thousand (or a load) of 
bricks ; like one o'clock ; like a tom- 
tit on a horse turd, etc. To be down 
pin, to be out of sorts, despondent. 
To drop down on one, to discover one's 
character or designs. To put a down 
upon one, to peach so as to cause detec- 
tion or failure. To put one down to 
[a thing], to apprize, elucidate, or 
explain ; to coach or prime ; to let 
one into the know. To take down a 
peg : see Peg. Down the road, vulgarly 
showy, flash. Down to dandy : see 
up to Dick. Down to the ground, en- 
tirely, thoroughly, to the last degree 

Downed. Tricked, beaten, sat 

Downer. 1. A sixpence : see 
Rhino. In U.S.A., a five-cent, piece. 
[Cf. Deaner (q.v.) ; now corrupted 
into Tanner (q.v.).] 2. A knock- 
down blow : cf. Bender, Doubler, etc. 

Down-hills. Dice cogged to run 
on the low numbers (Grose). 

Downs. Tothill Fields prison : see 

Downstairs. HelL 

Downy. A bed : also Downy flea- 
pasture. As adj., artful, knowing 
(q.v.) (1823). To do the downy: see 

Downey-bit. A half-fledged girl. 

Downy-cove (or bird). A clever 
rogue : in pi., the downies. English 
synonyms : mizzler, leary bloke or 
cove, sly dog, old dog, nipper, file, 
Greek, one that knows what's o'clock, 
one who knows the ropes, or his 
way about, don, dodger, dab, doll's 
eye-weaver, dam - macker, shaver, 
dagen, chickalcary - cove, ikey bloke, 
artful member, one that is up to the 
time of day, fly cove, one that's in 
the know, one that has his eye-teeth 
skinned, or that has cut his wisdoms. 

Dowry. A lot, a great deal ; 
dowry of parny, a lot of rain or water. 

Dowse (or Douse). A verb of 
action : e.g. Dowse your dog vane, 
take the cockade out of your hat ; 
Dowse the glim, put out the candle; 
Dowse on the chops, a blow in the 

Dout. Literally, to do out ; as 
Dup (q.v.), to do up, and Don, to do 
on. See Hamlet, iv. Then up he 
rose and donned his clothes, and 
dupped the chamber door. 

Doxology - works. A church or 

Doxy. A mistress, prostitute, oc- 
casionally, a jade, a girl, even a wife. 
In West of England, a baby (1567). 

Dozing-crib. A bed : see Kip. 

D.Q. On the D.Q., on the dead quiet : 
cf. Strict Q.T., etc. 

Drab. 1. Poison; also medicine. 
Also as a verb. 2. A strumpet. 
Drabbing, strumming. 

Drabbut. A vague and gentle 
form of imprecation. Drabbut your 
back, confound you. 

Draft. Draft on Aldgate pump, a 
fictitious banknote or fraudulent bill. 
See N. and Q., 7 S., i. 387-493 

Drag. 1. A cart of any kind ; now 
usually applied to a four-horse coach. 
2. A chain. 3. A street or road. Back 
drag, a back street. 4. Three months' 
imprisonment ; also Three Moon : see 
Dose. Done for a drag, convicted of 
Dragging (q.v.) : see Drag, a term of 
imprisonment. 6. Feminine attire 
worn by men. To go on (or flash) the 
drag, to wear women's attire for im- 
moral purposes. 6. A lure, trick, 
stratagem. 7. A fox prepared with 
herring or aniseed and brought to 
covert in a bag. 8. See Dragging. 
To put on the drag, to ease off or go 
slow ; also to put on pressure. To 
drag the pudding, to get the sack 
just before Christmas-time. 

Drag-cove. A carter or driver of 
a Drag (q.v.). 

Dragging. Robbing vehicles. 

Drag - lay. The practice of rob- 
bing vehicles (Grose). 

Dragon. A sovereign, 20s. : see 
Rhino. To water the dragon, to urinate, 
' pump ship,' ' rack off.' 

Dragsman. A coachman ; also a 
Drag-sneak (q.v.). 

Drag -sneak. A thief who makes a 
speciality of robbing vehicles (1781). 

Drain. 1. A drink : see Go. To 
do a drain (wet, or common sewer), to 
take a friendly drink (1836). 2. Gin. 
[From its diuretic qualities.] 

Drains. A ship's cook ; The 
Doctor (q.v.). 

Drammer. See Drummer. 

Draper. See Gammon the Draper. 

Drat (Dratted). A mild and in- 
definite imprecation of contempt, or 
impatience. [A corruption of God 
rot it.] 




Draught. A privy : see Mrs. Jones 

Draw. 1. An undecided contest. 
[An abbreviation of ' drawn game.'] 
2. An attraction ; e.g. an article, 
popular preacher, successful play, and 
so forth. 3. A stroke with the surface 
of the bat inclined to the ground. As 
verb, (1) to attract public attention. 
(2) To steal, pick pockets. To draw a 
wipe (or ticker), to prig a handkerchief 
or watch ; to draw a damper, to empty 
a till (Grose). (3) To tease to vexation, 
take in, make game of. (4) To bring 
out, cause to act, write, or speak, by 
flattery, mis-statement, or deceit. 
Also, to draw out ; Fr., tirer les vers du 
nez. (5) To ease of money : e.g. I 
drew him for a hundred ; She drew 
me for a dollar ! To draw on [a man], 
to use a knife. To draw a bead on, to 
attack with rifle or revolver. To 
draw a straight furrow, to live up- 
rightly. To draw plaster, to fish for 
a man's intentions. To draw straws, 
to be almost asleep, drowsy. To draw 
teeth, to wrench knockers and handles 
from street doors. To draw the 
badger : see Badger. To draw blanks, to 
fail, be disappointed. To draw the 
bow up to the ear : see Bow. To draw 
(or pull) the long bow : see Bow. To 
draw the cork, to make blood flow ; to 
tap the claret (q.v.). To draw the 
King's (or Queen's) picture, to manufac- 
ture base money. To draw wool (or 
worsted), to irritate ; foment a quarrel : 
cf. Comb one's hair. Draw it mild ! 
an interjection of (1) derision ; (2) in- 
credulity; (3) supplication : cf. Come 
it strong. Draw boy, a superior 
article ticketed and offered at a figure 
lower than its value. 

Drawer-on. An appetiser : used 
only of food, as Puller-on (q.v.) of 
drink. Both are in Massinger. 

Drawers. Embroidered stock- 
ings (1567). 

Draw-fart (or Doctor Draw-fart). 
A wandering quack. 

Draw - latch. A thief ; also a 
loiterer (1631). 

Draw - off. To throw back the 
body to strike ; He drew off, and 
delivered on the left peeper. A sailor 
would say, He hauled off and slipped 

Dreadful. A sensational story, 
newspaper, or print : see Awful, and 
Shilling Shocker. 

Dredgerman. A river thief under 
pretence of dredging up coals and such 
like from the bottom of the river. 
They hang about barges and other 
undecked craft, and when opportunity 
serves, throw any property they can 
lay their hands on overboard: in order, 
slyly, to dredge it up when the vessel 
is gone. Sometimes they dexterously 
use their dredges to whip away any- 
thing that may lie within reach. Some 
are mighty neat at this, and the ac- 
complishment is called Dry dredging. 

Dress (Winchester College). The 
players who come next in order after 
Six or Fifteen. [So called because 
they come down to the matches ready 
dressed to act as substitutes if re- 
quired.] To dress a hat, to exchange 
pilferings : e.g. to swap pickings from 
a hosier's stock with a shoemaker's 
assistant for boots or shoes. To 
dress down, to beat, scold (1715). To 
be dressed like Xmas beef : see Beef. 
To dress to death (within an inch of 
one's life, or to kill), to dress in the 
extreme of fashion. 

Dress-house. A brothel : cf. Dress- 

Dressing (or Dressing -down). 
Correction, manual or verbal ; also 

Dress -lodger. A woman boarded, 
fed, and clothed by another, and pay- 
ing by prostitution. 

Dressy. Fond of dress. 

Drilled. Shot through the body. 

Drinks. The subjoined lists will 
be of interest. Invitations to drink 
What'll you have ? Nominate your 
pizen ! Will you irrigate ? Will you 
tod ? Wet your whistle ? How'll 
you have it ? Let us stimulate ! 
Let's drive another nail ! What's 
your medicine ? Willst du trinken ? 
Try a little anti-abstinence ? Twy 
(zwei) lager ! Your whisky's wait- 
ing. Will you try a smile ? Will you 
take a nip ? Let's get there. Try a 
little Indian ? Come and see your 
pa ? Suck some corn juice ? Let's 
liquor up. Let's go and see the baby. 
Responses to invitations to drink. 
Here's into your face ! Here's how ! 
Here's at you ! Don't care if I do. 
Well, I will. I'm thar ! Accepted, 
unconditionally. Well, I don't mind. 
Sir, your most. Sir, your utmost. 
You do me proud ! Yes, sir-reo ! 
With you yes ! Anything to oblige. 




On time. I'm with you. Count me 
in. I subscribe. Synonyms for a 
drink [i.e. a portion], generally, or 
when taken at specified times. Anti- 
lunch, appetiser, ball, bullock's eye 
(a glass of port), bead, bosom friend, 
bucket, bumper, big-reposer, chit- 
chat, cheerer, cinder, corker, cobbler, 
damper, or something damp, dannie, 
drain, dram, deoch-an-doras, digester, 
eye-opener, entr'acte, fancy smile, 
flash, flip, facer, forenoon, go, gill, 
heeltap, invigorator, Johnny, joram, 
morning rouser, modicum, nip, or 
nipperkin, night cap, nut, pistol shot, 
pony, pill, quantum, refresher, rouser, 
reposer, shout, smile, swig, sleeve- 
button, something, slight sensation, 
shant, sparkler, settler, stimulant, 
soother, thimble-full, tift, taste, tooth- 
full, Timothy : see Go. General syn- 
onyms for drink. Breaky - leg, bub, 
crater ( also = whisky), fuddle, gargle, 
grog, guzzle, lap, lush, neck-oil, nectar, 
poison, slum-gullion, swizzle, stingo, 
tipple, tittey, toddy : see Tipple. 
Synonyms for beer (including stout). 
Act of Parliament ; artesian, barley, 
belch, belly-vengeance, bevy or bevvy, 
brownstone, bum-clink, bung-juice, 
bunker, cold-blood, down (see Up) ; 
English burgundy (porter), gatter, 
half-and-half, heavy-wet, John Bar- 
leycorn, knock-down or knock- me- 
down, oil of barley, perkin, ponge, 
pongelow, or ponjello, rosin, rot-gut, 
sherbet, stingo, swankey, swipes, 
swizzle, up (bottled ale or stout) : see 
Swipes. Synonyms for Brandy. 
Ball of fire, bingo, cold-tea, cold- 
nantz ; French elixir or cream : see 
French Elixir. Synonyms for whisky. 
Aqua vitas, bald - face, barley - bree, 
breaky - leg, bottled - earthquake, 
bum - clink, caper - juice, cappie, 
curse of Scotland, family-disturbance, 
farintosh, forty-rod lightning, grapple- 
the-rails, hard stuff, hell-broth, in- 
fernal compound, kill - the - beggar, 
lightning, liquid fire, moonlight, moon- 
shine, mountain-dew, old man's milk, 
pine - top, railroad, red - eye, rotgut, 
screech, Simon pure, sit - on - a - rock 
(rye whisky) soul - destroyer, square 
face, stone-fence, tangle-foot, the real 
thing, the sma' still, white-eye : see 
Old man's milk. Synonyms for gin. 
Blue ruin, blue-tape, Brian O'Lynn 
(rhyming), cat-water, cream of the 
valley, daffy, diddle, drain, duke, eye- 

water, frog's wine, juniper, jackey, 
lap, max, misery, old Tom, ribbon, 
satin, soothing-syrup, stark-naked, 
strip me - naked, tape, white satin, 
tape, or wine : see Satin. Synonyms 
for champagne. Cham or chammy, 
boy, fiz, dry, bitches' wine. Synonyms 
for port. lied fustian (q.v.). Syno- 
nyms for sherry Bristol milk, white 
wash. Terms implying various degrees 
of intoxication : eee Screwed. See 
also lists under Elbow - crooker, 
Lush, Lushcrib, Lushington, Gallon 

Dripper. A gleet. 

Dripping. A cook ; especially an 
indifferent one : FT., fripier and 
daube : cf. Doctor and Slushy (q.v.), a 
ship's cook. 

Drive. A blow. To lei drive, to aim 
a blow, strike. Four rogues in buck- 
ram let drive at me. Shakespeare, 
As verb, to send a ball off the bat with 
full force horizontally. To drive at, 
to aim at : e.g. What are you driv- 
ing at T What do you mean T (1697). 
To drive a bargain, to conduct a 
negotiation, make the best terms 
one can, dispute a condition or a price, 
succeed in a deal (1580). To drive a 
humming (or roaring) trade, to do well 
in business (1625). To drive oneself 
to the wash, to drive in a basket-chaise. 
To drive pigs to market, to snore. Fr., 
jouer d la ronfle (or de Forgue), also 
fumer. To drive turkeys to market, to 
reel and wobble in drink. To drive 
French horses, to vomit. From the 
Hue done of French carters to their 

Driver's pint. A gallon. 

Driz. Lace: Fr., miche (in allusion 
to the holes in a loaf of bread). 

Driz-fencer. A street vendor of 
lace, also a receiver of stolen material. 
fc Droddum. The posteriors (1786). 

Dromaky. A prostitute : north of 
England, particularly N. and S. 
Shields. [From a strolling actress 
who personated Andromache.] 

Dromedary. A bungler ; specifically 
a bungling thief : also Purple drome- 

Drop. See Drop game. As verb, 

(1) to lose, give, or part with (1812). 

(2) To relinquish, abandon, leave : e.g. 
to drop an acquaintance, to gradually 
withdraw from intercourse : cf. Cut. 
To drop the main toby, to turn out of 
the main road (1711). (3) To knock 



D. Ts. 

down : cf. To drop into, to thrash. (4) 
To bring down with a shot. To drop 
anchor, to pull up a horse. To drop 
one's anchor, to sit (or settle), down. 
To drop a cog, see Drop-game. To 
drop one's flag, to salute ; also to sub- 
mit, lower one's colours. To drop 
(hang, slip, or walk) into, to attack : 
also cf. Drop on to. To drop off the 
hooks, to die : see Hop the twig. To 
drop one's leaf, to die : see Hop the 
twig. To drop on one, to accuse or 
call to account without warning. Also 
to thrash. To drop the scabs in, to 
work button-holes. To drop one's 
wax, to evacuate or ' rear.' To get 
(or have) the drop on, to hold at dis- 
advantage, forestall. To have a drop 
in the eye, to be slightly drunk : see 
Screwed (1738). Drop it\ Cease! 
Cut it ! Cheese it ! 

Drop -game. A variety of the con- 
fidence trick : The thief picks out his 
victim, gets in front of him, and pre- 
tends to pick up (say) a pocket-book, 
(snide) which he induces the green- 
horn to buy for cash. The object is a 
Cog, and the operator a Dropper or 

Dropped-on. Disappointed. 

Dropper. A specialist in the Drop- 
game (q.v.) : also Drop-cove (1669). 

Dropping. A beating ; I'll give 
you a good dropping, i.e. I'll thrash 
you severely. 

Droppings. The excrement of 
horses and sheep. 

Drown. See Miller. 

Drudge. Whisky in its raw state. 

Drug. To administer a narcotic. 
A drug in the market, anything so 
common as not to be vendible. 

Drum. 1. An entertainment ; now a 
tea before dinner ; a Kettle-drum (q.v.) 
(1750). 2. A road, street, or highway. 
English synonyms: drag, toby, high (or 
main) toby, pad, donbite, finger and 
thumb (rhyming). 3. The ear. 4. A 
building ; Hazard - drum, a gambling 
hell ; Flash - drum, a brothel ; Cross- 
drum, a thieves' tavern ; In U.S.A., a 
drinking place. 5. A bundle carried 
on tramp ; generally worn as a roll 
over the right shoulder and under the 
left arm : also Bluey and Swag (q.v.). 
6. A small workshop. 

Drummer. 1. A horse, the action of 
whose forelegs is irregular (Grose). 2. 
A thief, who before robbing, narcotises 
or otherwise stupefies his victim. 3. 

A commercial traveller ; also Ambas- 
sador of Commerce or Bagman (q.v.) ; 
Fr., gaudissart or hirondette. See 
Drum, a road. Old - time pedlars 
announced themselves by beating a 
drum at the town's end.] (1827). 4. 
A trousers' maker, Kickseys' -builder 

Drumstick - cases. Trousers : see 

Drumsticks. 1. The legs especially 
of birds. English synonyms : cheese- 
cutters (bandy-legs), stumps, cabbage- 
stumps, pins, gams, notches, shanks, 
stems, stumps, clubs, marrow-bones, 
cat-sticks, trap-sticks, dripping-sticks, 
trams, trespassers, pegs, knights of the 

Drunk. A debauch ; by implica- 
tion, a drunkard, i.e. a drunk and 
disorderly person. On the drunk, on 
the drink, i.e. drinking for days on 
end. Drunk as Davy's sow, excessively 
drunk : see Screwed. 

Drunkard. To come the drunkard, to 
feign drunkenness ; also to be drunk. 
To be quite the gay drunkard, to be 
more or less in liquor. 

Drunken-chalks. Good conduct 
badges : see Chalk. 

Drury - Lane Ague. A venereal 
disease : see Ladies' Fever. 

Drury-Lane Vestal. A prostitute. 

Dry. See Lime-basket. 

Dry-boots. A dry humorist (Grose). 

Dry-hash. A miser ; also, by im- 
plication, a loafer. 

Dry-land! (rhyming). ' You 
understand ! ' 

Dryland - sailor. See Turnpike 

Dry-lodging. Accommodation 
without board. 

Dry - nurse. A guardian, bear- 
leader, tutor ; a junior who instructs 
an ignorant chief in his duties (1614). 

Dry-room. A prison : see Cage. 

Dry - shave. Rubbing the chin 
with the fingers ; also as a verb. The 
action implies a certain effrontery. 

Dry - up. LA failure, Columbus 
(q.v.); contrast with Draw, sense 2. 
As verb, to cease talking, abandon a 
purpose or position, stop work. As an 
interjection, Hold your jaw ! 

Dry-walking. A hard-up soldier's 

D. T's. Delirium tremens : see Jim- 
jams. The D. T., The Daily Tele- 




Dub. 1. A k ey ; specifically a master 
key : see Locksmith's daughter (1789). 
As verb, to open. Dub your mummer 
Open your mouth. Dub the, jigger, 
open the door. Also by confusion, to 
shut or fasten (1567). Dub at a 
Knapping Jigger, a turnpike keeper. 
To dub up, to hand over, pay, fork out. 
FT., f oncer, abouler. Formerly, to lock 
up, secure, button one's pocket. 

Dub her. 1. The mouth or tongue ; 
mum your dubber ; hold your tongue. 
2. A picklock (Grose). 

Dub-cove. See Dubsman. 

Dub-lay. Using picklocks. 

Dublin-dissector. A cudgel. 

Dubs (Winchester College). 

Dub mans (or Dubs). A turnkey, 
gaoler. English synonyms : jigger- 
dubber, screw. 

Ducats. 1. Money : see Rhino. 
[Probably from Shylock in ' The Mer- 
chant of Venice.'] 2. Specifically a 
railway ticket ; also pawnbroker's 
duplicate, raffle-card, or Brief (q.v.). 
Also Ducket. 

D u c e. Twopence : see Rhino. 

Duck. 1. Scraps of meat ; other- 
wise Block-ornaments, Stickings, Fag- 
gots, Manablins, or Chuck (q.v.). 

2. (Winchester College). The face. 
To make a duck, to make a grimace. 

3. A draw or decoy. [An abbreviation 
of decoy-duck.] 4. A term of endear- 
ment ; also used in admiration ; e.g. 
a duck of a bonnet. Also ducky : 
duck of diamonds being a superlative. 
5. A metal-cased watch ; i.e. old 
watch movements in German silver 
cases. To make a duck (or duck's 
egg), to make no score, to crack one's 
egg, get a pair of spectacles. The 
duck that runs (or grinds) the gospel 
mill, a clergyman : see Devil-dodger. 
Lame duck (q.v. post). Oerman 
duck (q.v. post). To do a duck, to hide 
under the seat of a public conveyance 
with a view to avoid paying the fare. 

Ducket. See Ducat. 

Duck-footed. Said of people who 
walk like a duck ; i.e. with the toes 
turned inwards. 

Ducking. To go ducking, to go 

Ducks. 1. Linen trousers ; generally 
White ducks: see Kicks. 2. Aylesbury 
Dairy Co. shares. 3. An official of the 
Bombay service. To chance the ducks 

(q.v.) ante. To make ducks and 
drakes of one's money, to squander 
money as lavishly as stones are squan- 
dered at ' ducks and drakes.' [In al- 
lusion to the childish game.] (1605). 

Duck's- bill. A tongue cut in a 
piece of stout paper and pasted on 
at the bottom of the tympan sheet. 

Ducky (or Duck of Diamonds). 
See Duck. 

Dudder (Dudsman, or Duffer). 
A pedlar of pretended smuggled wares 
gown-pieces, silk waistcoats, etc. 
The term and practice are obsolete, 
though in a few seaports, London 
especially, they survived till recently 
in a modified form. Fr., marottier. 

Dude. A swell, fop, masher: see 
Dandy. Dudette (or Dudinette), a 
young girl affecting the airs of a belle ; 
Dudine, a female masher. 

Dude-hamfatter. A wealthy pig- 

Duds. Clothes ; sometimes old 
clothes or rags (1440). Doddery, a 
clothier's booth (De Foe's Tour of Ot. 
Brit., p. 125). In America applied to 
any kind of portable property. To 
angle for duds, see Anglers ; To sweat 
duds, to pawn. 

Dudsman. See Dudder. 

Dues. Money : see Rhino : spec, 
a share of booty. To tip the dues, to 
pay, to hand over a share. 

Duff. 1. Specifically, to sell flashy 
goods as pretended contraband or 
stolen ; hence to cheat. Duffers (or 
Men at the duff), pedlars of flash. 
Duffing, the practice ; as an adjective, 
spurious ( 1 78 1 ). 2. To rub up the nap 
of old clothes to improve their ap- 
pearance. Duffer, one who performs 
this operation, whilst the article 
operated upon is also a duffer by 
virtue of the fact itself. 

D u ff e r. 1. A pedlar ; specific- 
ally a hawker of brummagem (q.v.), 
and so-called smuggled goods. In 
the population returns of 1831 duffer, 
one who gets a living by cheating 
pawnbrokers. 2. Anything worth- 
less or sham. 3. A female smuggler. 

Duffer-out. To get exhausted. 

D u m n g. False, counterfeit, 

Dugs. The paps ; once used 
without reproach, of women ; now 
only in contempt except of animals : 
see Dairy. [From same stem as 




Duke. 1. Gin : see Drinks. 2. A 
horse. 3. Any transaction in the 
shape of a burglary ; e.g. I was 
jemming to their duke, I was privy 
to the robbery. 

Duke Humphrey. See Dine. 

Duke - of - Limbs. An awkward, 
uncouth man ; specifically one with 
ungainly limbs (Grose). 

Duke - of - York (rhyming slang). 
To walk ; also, to talk. 

Dukes. The hands : see Bunch of 
fives. To grease the dukes, to bribe ; 
also to pay. To put up the dukes, to 
put up one's hands for combat. 

Dukey. See Dookie and Gaff. 

Dulcamara. A quack doctor. 
[From the name of a character in 
Donizetti's V Elixir d? Amour (1845).] 

Dull. Dull in the eye, intoxicated : 
see Screwed. 

Dull -swift. A sluggish messenger. 

Dumb-fogged. Confused. 

Dum b -f o ozled. Confounded, 

Dumbfound (Dumfound, Dumb- 
founding, Dumbfounded or Dum- 
foundered). To perplex, confound, 
etc. (1690). 

Dummacker. A knowing person. 

Dummerer. See Dommerar. 

Dummock. The posteriors. 

Dummy. 1. A deaf mute ; also an 
idiot ; sometimes a duffer, sense 2. 2. 
Generic for shams : e.g. empty bottles 
and drawers in an apothecary's shop, 
wooden half-tubs of butter, bladders 
of lard, hams, cheeses, and so forth ; 
dummies in libraries generally take the 
form of works not likely to tempt the 
general reader. 3. The open hand at 
an imperfect game of whist. 4. A 
pocket book. 

Dummy-daddle Dodge. Picking 
pockets under cover of a sham hand 
or Daddle (q.v.). 

Dummy - hunter. A pickpocket 
whose speciality is pocket-books. 

Dump. A metal counter. As 
verb, (1) to throw down : e.g. to dump 
down coals. (2) (Winchester College). 
To put out. Dump the tolly ! Ex- 
tinguish the candle. 

Dump -fencer. A button-merchant. 

Dumpies. The nineteenth Hus- 
sars. [From the diminutive size of the 
men when the regiment was first 

Dumpling -depot. The stomach : 
see Bread-basket. 

Dumpling -shop. The paps : see 

Dumps. Money : see Rhino. In 
the dumps, cast down, ill at ease, un- 
pleasantly situate (1592). 

Dun. An importunate creditor ; 
as verb, to persist in demanding pay- 
ment. FT., loup. Also Dunner and 
Dunning (1663). 

Dunaker. A cattle-lifter (1650). 

Dunderhead. A fool : see Buffle. 

Dundreary. Specifically, a stam- 
mering, foolish, and long-whiskered 
fop the Lord Dundreary of Our 
American Cousin (1858) generally, 
a foppish fool. 

Dundrearies. A pair of whiskers 
cut sideways from the chin, and 
grown as long as possible. A 
fashion (now obsolete) suggested by 
Sothern's make-up in Our American 

Dung. An operative working for 
less than society wages. Formerly, 
according to Grose, ' a journey- 
man taylor who submits to the law 
for regulating journey-men taylors' 
wages, therefore deemed by the 
Flints (q.v.) a coward.' 

Dung-fork (also Dung-cart). A 
country bumpkin : see Joskin. 

Dunnage. Baggage ; clothes. 
[Properly wood or loose faggots laid 
across the hold of a vessel, or stuffed 
between packages, to keep cargo from 
damage by water or shifting.] 

Dunnakin (or Dunnyken). A 
privy ; in U.S.A., a chamber-pot : see 
Mrs. Jones (Grose). 

Dunop (back-slang). A pound. 

Dup. To open (1567). 
' Durham -man. A knock-kneed man. 

Duria. Fire. 

Durrynacker. A female lace 
hawker ; generally practised as an 
introduction to fortune-telling. Also 

Dust. Generic for money : see 
Rhino (1655). To dust one's jacket, to 
thrash ; to criticise severely. To get up 
and dust (or to dust out of), to move 
quickly, leave hurriedly : see Bunk. 
To have dust in the eyes, to be sleepy, 
draw straws (q.v.). Said mainly of 
children : e.g. The dustman is coming. 
To kick up (or raise) a dust, to make a 
disturbance, or much ado (1759). To 
throw dust in the eyes, to mislead, dupe. 
To bite the dust, to knock under, be 
mortified, or shamed. 



Earl of Mar's Grey Breeks. 

Dust-bin. A grave. 

Dusted. Drubbed, severely criti- 

Duster. A sweetheart : see Jomer. 

Dust-hole. 1. The Prince of Wales' 
Theatre in Tottenham Court Road. 
[From the fact that, fifty years ago, 
under the management of Mr. Glossop, 
the sweepings of the house were 
deposited and suffered to accumulate 
under the pit.] 2. Sidney Sussex 
College, Cambridge. Obsolete. 

Dustman. 1. A personification of 
sleep : the dustman coming, you 
are getting sleepy. 2. A head man. 

Dusty. Not so dusty, a mark of 
approval, not so bad, so-so. 

Dusty-bob. A scavenger. 

Dusty poll (or Dusty - nob). A 

Dutch. An epithet of inferiority. 
An echo, no doubt, of the long-stand- 
ing hatred engendered by the bitter 
fight for the supremacy of the seas 
between England and Holland in the 
seventeenth century. As subs., a 
wife. [Probably an abbreviation of 
Dutch clock.] English synonyms : 
mollisher,rib, grey-mare, warming- pan, 
splice, lawful blanket, autem-mort, 
comfortable impudence, comfortable 
importance, old woman, evil, missus, 
lawful jam, yoke-fellow, night-cap, 
legitimate, or legiti, weight-carrier, 
mutton-bone, ordinary, pillow-mate, 
supper-table, Dutch clock, chattel, 
sleeping-partner, doxy, cooler, mount, 
bed-faggot. To do a dutch, to desert, 
run away : see Bunk. That beats the 
Dutch, a sarcastic superlative (1775). 
To talk Dutch (Double- Dutch, or High- 
Dutch), to talk gibberish ; or, by 
implication, nonsense (1604). The 
Dutch have taken Holland, a quiz for 

stale news : cf. Queen Bess (or Queen 
Anne) is dead ; The Ark rested upon 
Mount Ararat, etc. 

Dutch-auction (or sale). A sale 
at minimum prices, a mock-auction. 

Dutch-bargain. A bargain all on 
one side. ' In matters of commerce 
the fault of the Dutch, Is giving too 
little and asking too much ! 

Dutch-clock. 1. A wife: cf. Dutch. 
2. A bed-pan. 

Dutch - concert (or medley). A 
sing-song whereat everybody sings 
and plays at the same time ; a hubbub. 

Dutch-consolation. Jobs comfort, 
unconsoling consolation. 

Dutch -courage. Pot- valiancy. 

Dutch -defence. Sham defence. 

Dutch - feast. An entertainment 
where the host gets drunk before his 

Dutch-gleek. Drinks. 

Dutchman. I'm a Dutchman if 
I do, a strong refusal. [During the 
wars between England and Holland, 
Dutch was synonymous with all that 
was false and hateful ; therefore, I 
would rather be a Dutchman, =the 
strongest term of refusal that words 
could express.] 

Dutchman's - breeches. Two 
streaks of blue in a cloudy sky. 

Dutchman's - drink. A draught 
that empties the pot. 

Dutch - treat. An entertainment 
where every one pays his shot. 

Dutch - uncle. / will talk to you 
like a Dutch uncle, I will reprove you 
smartly. [The Dutch were renowned 
for the brutality of their discipline.] 

Dutch-widow. A prostitute 

Dutch -wife. A bolster. 

Eagle-takers (The). The Eighty- 
Seventh Foot. [The title was gained 
at Barossa (1811), when it captured 
the eagle of the 8th French Light 
Infantry. Its colours also bear the 
plume of the Prince of Wales and tho 
harp and crown, an eagle with a 
wreath of laurel.] It was also nick- 
named The old Fogs; also The 
Faugh-a-Ballagh Boys, from Fag an 
bealac I Clear the Way, the regi- 

mental march, and the war-cry at 

Ear. To send away with a flea in the 
ear, to dismiss peremptorily and with 
a scolding : Fr., mettre la puce d Voreille 
(1764). To bite, the ear : see Bite. To 
get up on one's ear, to bestir oneself, to 
rouse oneself for an effort. 

Earl of Cork. The ace of diamonds. 

Earl of Mar's Grey Breeks (The). 
The Twenty- First Foot [In allusion 



to the colour of the men's breeches 
and to the original title of the regi- 
ment, The Earl of Mar's Fuzileers.] 

Early. To get up early, to be 
astute, ready, wide - awake : cf . It's 
the early bird that catches the worm 

Early - riser. An aperient : cf. 
Custom-house officer, and Two gunners 
and a driver. 

Early-worm. A man who searches 
the streets at daybreak for cigar 

Earth - bath. A grave. To take 
an earth - bath, to be buried ; cf . 
ground sweat. 

Earthquake. Battled earthquake, 
intoxicating drinks. 

Earth-stoppers. Horse's feet. 

Earthy. Gross, common, devoid 
of soul. 

Ear-wig. A private prompter or 
flatterer; also (thieves') a clergyman. 
[From the popular delusion that the 
ear- wig lodges itself in the ear with a 
view to working its way into the brain, 
when it causes death.] (1639). As 
verb, to prompt, influence by covert 
statements, whisper insinuations. 

Ease. To rob; Fr., soulager: cf. 
Annex and Convey. To ease a 
bloke, to rob a man (1630). 

Eason. To tell. 

East-and- South (rhyming slang). 
The mouth ; also Sunny south : see 
Potato trap. 

Eastery. Private business. 

Easy. To make easy, to gag or kill 
(Grose). Easy as damn it (or as my 
eye), excessively easy, Easy as lying 
[Shakespeare]. Easy does it ! An 
exclamation of encouragement and 
counsel, Take your time and keep 
your coat on. Easy over the pimples 
(or over the stones), an injunction to go 
slow, or, mind what you're about. 

Easy Virtue. See Lady of Easy 

Eat. To provision: e.g. a steamer is 
said to be able to eat 400 passengers 
and sleep about half that number. 
Eat coke : see Coke. Eat crow : see 
Crow. Eat a fig (rhyming slang), 
to crack a crib, to break a house. 
To eat one's head off, to be retained for 
service and stand idle ; also to cost 
more in keep than one is worth. Eat 
one's head (hat, boots, etc.), a locu- 
tion of emphatic asseveration. [Prob- 

ably Dickensonian, influenced by the 
proverbial saying, To eat one's heart 
out to undergo intense struggle, 
and also To eat one's head off (q.v.). 
To eat one's terms, to go through 
the prescribed course of study for 
admission to the bar. [In allusion 
to the dinners a student has to attend 
in the public hall of his inn.] To eat 
one's words, to retract a statement, 
own a lie. To eat up, to vanquish, 
ruin. [Originally Zulu.] 

Eaves. A hen-roost. 

Eavesdropper. A chicken thief ; 
also generally, any petty pilferer. 

Ebenezer (Winchester College). 
A stroke at fives : when the ball hits 
' line ' at such an angle as to rise 
perpendicularly into the air. 

Ebony. 1. A negro ; otherwise 
Blackbird (q.v.) and Black Ivory. 
Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) spoke of 
the negro race as God's images cut in 
ebony. 2. The publisher of Maga : 
i.e. Blackwood. 

Ebony-optics. Black eyes. Ebony- 
optics albonized, black eyes painted 

Edgabac (back slang). Cabbage. 

Edge. Stitched off the edge, said of 
a glass not filled to the top. Side- 
edge, whiskers. Short top edge, a 
turn-up nose or Celestial (q.v.). Edge 
in, to slip in, insinuate, e.g. to edge 
in a word (or a remark). Edge off 
(or out of), to slink away, gradually 
desist. To take the edge off [a thing, 
or person, or idea], to become ac- 
quainted with, enjoy to satiety : see 
Hamlet, m. ii. ' It would cost you a 
groaning to take off my edge.' 

Edgenaro (back slang). An 

Edge-ways. Not able to get a word in 
edge-ways, having but the barest 
opportunity of taking part in a dis- 

Eel - skins. Tight trousers : see 

E-fink (back slang). A knife, 

Efter. A theatre thief. 

Egg. See Bad egg. Egg on, to 
encourage. Sure as eggs is eggs, of a 
certainty, without doubt. [From 
the formula, ' x is x.'] To teach one's 
grandmother to roast (or suck) eggs, to 
lecture elders and superiors ; Fr., lea 
oisons veulent mener les oies pattre 
(the goslings want to drive the geese 
to pasture). 




Egham, Staincs, and Windsor 
A three-cornered coachman's hat. |>, 

Egyptian-hall (rhyming slang). A 
, Eighter. An eight-ounce loaf. 

E k a m e (back slang). A Make 
(q.v.), swindle. 

Ekom (back slang). A Moke (q.v.) 
or donkey. 

Elbow. To turn a corner, get out 
of sight. To shake the elbow, to play 
dice. [From the motion of the arm 
in casting.] (1680). To crook the 
elbow, to drink : see Lush. 

Elbow-crooker. A hard drinker. 
English synonyms : borachio, boozing- 
ton, brewer's horse, bubber, budger, 
mop, lushington, worker of the cannon, 
wet - quaker, soaker, lapper, pegger, 
angel altogether, bloat, ensign-Dearer, 
fiddle - cup, sponge, tun, toss - pot, 
swill-pot, wet subject, shifter, pot- 
ster, swallower, pot-walloper, wetster, 
dramster, drinkster, beer-barrel, gin- 
nums, lowerer, moist 'un, drainist, 
boozer, mopper-up, piss-maker, thirst- 

Elbower. A runaway. 

Elbow-grease. Energetic and con- 
tinuous manual labour : e.g. Elbow- 
grease is the best furniture oil : Fr., 
huile de bras or de poignet ; du foulage 

Elbow - scraper (or Jigger). A 

Elbow-shaker. A gambler (1748). 

Elbow-shaking. Gambling. 

Electrified. 1. Moderately drunk : 
see Screwed. 2. Violently startled. 

Elegant. Excellent. 

Elegant Extracts. 1. The Eighty- 
Fifth Foot. [This regiment was re- 
modelled in 1812, after a long 
sequence of court - martials : when 
the officers were removed, and others 
set in their room.] 2. (Cambridge 
University). Students who, though 
' plucked,' were still given their 
degrees. A line was drawn below the 
poll-list, and those allowed to pass 
were nicknamed the elegant extracts. 
There was a similar limbo in the 
honour - list, called the Gulf : for 
' Between them (t'n the poll) and us 
(in the honour lists) there is a great 
gulf fixed.'] 

Elephant. A wealthy victim. 
To see the elephant, 1. To see the world, 
go out for wool and come home 
shorn; by implication, to go on the 

loose : sometimes, To see the King. 
2. To be seduced ; Fr., avoir vu le loup. 

Elephant-dance. See Cellar-flap 
and Double-shuffle. 
- Elephant's-trunk (rhyming slang). 
Drunk : see Screwed, 
r Elevated. Drunk : see Screwed. 

Elf en. To walk lightly, go on tiptoe. 

Ellenborough - Lodge (Spike, or 
Park). The King's Bench Prison. 
[From Ld. Chief - Justice Ellen- 
borough. Ellenborough' s teeth, the 
chevaux de frize round the prison 

. Elrig (back slang). A girl. 
. Elycampane (or Elecampane). 
See Allacompain. 

Emag (back slang). Game : e.g. 
I know your little emag. 

Embroider. To exaggerate, add to 
the truth. 

Embroidery. Exaggeration : the 
American sass and trimmins (q.v.). 

Emma. See Whoa Emma. 

Emperor. A drunken man. 
[An intensification of, Drunk as a 
lord ; whence, Drunk as an em- 
peror.] Fr., saoul comme trente mille 
homines, or un fine.. 

Empty the Bag. See Bag. 

Encumbrances. Children : see 
Certainties and Uncertainties. 

End. To be all on end, to be very 
angry, irritated. Also expectant. At 
loose ends, neglected, precarious. 
End on, straight, full-tilt. To keep 
one's end up, to rub along. 

Enemy. Time : e.g. How goes the 
enemy, what's o'clock ? To kill the 
enemy, to kill time. 

English Burgundy. Porter : see 

Enif. Fine. 

Enin - gen. Nine shillings. Enin 
yanneps, ninepence. 

Eno (back slang). One. 

Ensign - bearer. A drunkard ; 
especially with red nose and blotchy 
face: see Lushington. 

Ephesian. A boon companion, 
spreester : cf. Corinthian. 

Epip (back slang). A pipe. 

Epsom-races (rhyming slang). A 
pair of braces. 

Equipped. Rich, well-dressed, in 
good circumstances. 

Erif (back slang). Fire. 

Eriff . A young thief. 

Errand. To send a baby on an 




errand, to undertake what is pretty 
sure to turn out badly. 

Error. See No error. 

Erth (back slang). Three. Ertli 
gen, three shillings. Erth-pu, Three- 
up, a street game, played with three 
halfpence. Erih sith-noms, Three 
months' imprisonment ; a drag. Erth 
yanneps, Threepence. 

E s c 1 o p (back slang). A police- 
constable ; esclop is pronounced ' slop ' 
the c is never sounded : see Beak. 

Es-roch (back slang). A horse : 
see Prad. 

Essex-lion. A calf : e.g. as valiant 
as an Essex-lion : cf. Cotswold Lion, 
Cambridgeshire Nightingale, etc. 

Essex-stile. A ditch. 

Esuch( back slang). Ahorse: seeKen. 

Eternity-box. A coffin. English 
synonyms: cold meat box, wooden 
surtout, coffee-shop, deal suit. 

Evaporate. To run away, to dis- 
appear : see Bunk. 

Evatch (back slang). To have : 
e.g. Evatch a kool at the elrig, Have 
a look at the girl. 

Everlasting-shoes (also Everlast- 
ings). The naked feet : see Creepers. 

Everlasting-staircase. The tread- 

Everton - toffee (rhyming slang). 

Everything is lovely and the 
goose hangs high. Everything is 
going swimmingly. [An allusion to 
the sport of gander pulling. A gan- 
der was plucked, thoroughly greased, 
especially about the head and neck, 
and tied tight by the feet to the 
branch of a tree. The game was 
then to ride furiously at the mark, 
catch it by the head or neck, and 
attempt to bear it away. With every 
failure the fun would get more up- 

Evif (back slang). Five. Evif- 
gen, a crown, or five shillings. Evif- 
yanneps, fivepence. 

Evil. A wife : see Dutch. 

Evlenet-gen (back slang). 
Twelve shillings. Evlenet sithnoms, 
twelve months : generally known as 
a stretch. 

Ewe. See White-ewe and-Old ewe. 

Ewe-mutton. An elderly strumpet, 
or piece. 

Exalted. Hanged : see Ladder. 

Exam. An abbreviation of Ex- 

Exasperate. To over-aspirate the 
letter H. 

E x c e 1 1 e r s. The Fortieth Foot. 
[A pun upon its number, xl + ers.] 

Excruciators. Tight boots ; especi- 
ally with pointed toes. 

Execution-day. Washing day. 

Exes. 1. An abbreviation of ex- 
penses. 2. An abbreviation of ex- 
officials, ex-ministers, and so forth. 
As in Tom Moore's ' We x's have 
proved ourselves not to be wise.' 

Exis-evif-gen (back slang). Six 
times five shillings, i.e. 30s. All 
monies may be reckoned in this 
manner, either with yanneps or gens. 
Exis-evif-yanneps, literally, sixpence 
and fivepence, elevenpence. Exis gen, 
six shillings. Exis sith-noms, six- 
months. Exis yanneps, sixpence. 

Expecting. With child. 

Experience Does it. A dog- 
English rendering of Experienta docet. 

Explaterate. To hold forth, ex- 
plain in detail. [From O.E. Expiate 
==to unfold.] 

Explosion. A delivery in childbed. 

Exquisite. A fop : see Dandy. 

Extensive. Formerly applied to a 
person's appearance or talk ; rather 
extensive that ! intimating that the 
person alluded to is showing off, or 
cutting it fat. 

Extinguisher. A dog's muzzle. 

Ex Trumps (Winchester College). 
Extempore. To go up to books ex 
trumps, to go to class without pre- 
paring one's lessons. 

Eye. See All my eye. To putt wool 
over tlie eyes : see Wool. To keep the 
eyes dean (skinned, or peeled), to be 
watchful, alert, with all one's wits 
about one. To have a drop in the 
eye, to be drunk : see Screwed. In 
the twinkling of an eye : see Bedpost. 
To bet one's eyes : see Bet. My 
eyes I An expression of surprise. 

Eyelashes. To hang on by the eye- 
lashes (or eyebrows), to be very tena- 
cious ; also by implication, to be in a 
difficulty : cf. Hang on by the splash 

Eye-limpet. An artificial eye. 

Eye-opener. 1. Drink generally ; 
specifically, a mixed drink. 2. Any- 
thing surprising or out of the 

Eyeteeth. To have cut one's eye- 
teeth, to have learned wisdom. 

Eye-water. Gin : see Drinks. 




Face. 1. Confidence, boldness, 
also (more frequently) impudence : 
e.g. I like your face, I like your 
cheek. Once literary ; cf. Cheek, 
Jaw, Gab, Brow, Mouth, Lip, etc. 
(1610). 2. Credit To push one's 
face, to get credit by bluster (1765). 
3. A qualification of contempt : e.g. 
Now face ! where are you a-shoving 
of T ' As verb, to bully (1593) : also 
to face (or outface) with a card of ten, 
to browbeat, bluff. [Nares : derived 
from some game (possibly primero) 
wherein the standing boldly upon a 
ten was often successful.] (1460). To 
face the knocker, to go begging : see 
Cadge. To have no face but one's own, 
to be penniless, or (gamesters') to 
hold no court cards : Fr., n' 'avoir pas 
une face, to have not a sou. To 
make faces, to go back, or ' round ' 
upon a friend. To face the music, to 
meet an emergency, show one's hand. 
Face - entry. Freedom of access, 
the personal appearance being familiar 
to attendants. 

Facer. 1. A blow in the face 
(Grose). 2. A sudden check, spoke 
in one's wheel. 3. A dram. 4. A 
bumper (Orose). 5. A tumbler of 
whisky punch. 6. An accomplice, 
stall (q.v.), fence (q.v.). 

F a c e y. A fellow vis-d-vis, work- 
man. Facey on the bias, one in front 
either to right or left ; Facey on the 
two thick, one working immediately 
behind one's opposite. 

Facings. To be put (or go), 
through one's facings, to be called 
to account or scolded, to exemplify 
capacity ; to show off. Silk-facings, 
stains upon work caused by beer 

Fad-cattle. Easy women. 
Faddist (or Fadmonger). A 
person (male or female) devoted to the 
pursuit of public fads : as social 
purity, moral art, free - trade in 
syphilis, and so-forth. 

F addle. To toy, trifle : as a subs., 
a busybody, a ' nancified,' affected, 
male. Also Faddy, full of fads. 

Fadge. A farthing. English syno- 
nyms : fiddler, farden, gig, (or grig), 
quartereen. As verb, to suit, fit, 
agree with, come off. [Nares : prob- 
ably never better than a low word : 

it is now confined to the streets] 

F a d g e r. A glazier's frame, a 
' frail.' 

Fadmonger. A Faddist (q.v.). 
Fadmongering, dealing as a Faddist 
with fads. 

Fag. 1. A boy doing menial work 
for a schoolfellow in a higher form. 
As verb, to act as a fag. 2. Christ's 
Hospital). Eatables. 3. A lawyer's 
clerk. 4. A cigarette. 

Fag. See subs. To beat 

F agger (Figger, or Figure). A 
boy thief employed to enter houses by 
windows and either open the doors to 
his confederates as Oliver Twist with 
Bill Sykes), or hand out the swag to 
them ; also Little snakesman (q.v.) : 
cf. Diver. 

Fagging (or F a g g e r y). 
Waiting upon and doing menial work 
for a schoolfellow in a higher form. 
Also used adjectively. 

Faggot. 1. A woman, baggage: in 
contempt. [Once a popular symbol 
of recantation : heretics who had thus 
escaped the stake were required either 
to bear a faggot and burn it in public, 
or to wear an imitation on the sleeve 
as a badge.] Also Bed- (or Straw-) 
faggot, a wife, or mistress ; Tumble- 
faggot, a whore-master ; Carry - faggot, 
a mattress. 2. A sort of cake, roll, 
or ball, a number being baked at a 
time, made of chopped liver and lights, 
mixed with gravy, and wrapped in 
pieces of pig s caul It weighs six 
ounces, so that it is unquestion- 
ably a cheap [it costs Id. hot] and, to 
the scavenger, a savoury meal, but 
to other nostrils its odour is not 
seductive (Mayhew). 3. A dummy 
soldier ; one hired to appear at a 
muster to hide deficiencies. Many 
names of dummies would appear on 
the muster-roll : for these the colonel 
drew pay, but they were never in the 
ranks : obsolete, see Widow's - man 
(1672). As verb, to bind hand 
and foot, to tie [as sticks into a 
faggot] : Fr., tm fagot, a convict, be- 
cause bound to a common chain on 
their way to the hulks. 

Faggot-briefs. Bundles of 
dummy papers sometimes carried by 
briefless barristers. 




Faggot - vote. A vote secured by 
the purchase of property under mort- 
gage, or otherwise, so as to constitute 
a nominal qualification without a sub- 
stantial basis. 

Fains! (Fainits! Fain itl) A 
call for truce during the progress of 
a game without which priority or place 
would be lost ; generally understood to 
be preferred in bounds, or when out 
of danger : see Bags ! 

Fair-gang. Gypsies. 

Fair-rations. Fair dealings. 

Fair-shake. A good bargain : see 

Fair-trade. Smuggling. 

Faithful. One of the faithful (1) A 
drunkard: see Lushington (1609). 
(2) A tailor giving long credit (Grose). 

Faithful Durhams. The Sixty- 
Eighth Footh. 

Fake. An action, proceeding, 
manoeuvre, mechanical contrivance 
an affair of any kind irrespective of 
morals or legality : generally used in 
a sense specifically detrimental. In 
America, a swindler. As verb, (1) 
to do anything ; to fabricate, cheat, 
deceive, devise falsely, steal, forge : a 
general verb-of -all-work. In America, 
fix (q.v.) is employed much in the 
same way : Fr., faire. Also, To fake 
a screeve, to write a begging letter ; to 
fake one's slangs, to file through one's 
fetters ; to fake a dy (q.v.), to pick a 
pocket ; to fake the sweetener, to kiss ; 
to jake the duck, to adulterate, dodge ; 
to fake the rubber, to stand treat ; to 
fake the broads, to pack the cards, or to 
work the three-cark trick ; to fake a 
line (theatrical), to improvise a speech ; 
to fake a dance (a step, or a trip) thea- 
trical), to perform what looks like, but 
is not, dancing. (2) To hocus, nobble, 
tamper. (3) To paint one's face, make 
up a character. Also to fake up. (4) 
To cut out the wards of a key. Fake 
away! an ej aculation of encouragement. 

Fake-boodle. See Boodle. 

Faked. Counterfeit : sometimes 
Faked-up : Fr., lophe. 

Fakement. 1. A counterfeit signa- 
ture, forgery : specifically a begging 
letter or petition : Fr., brasser des 
faffes, to forge documents, i.e. To 
screeve fakements. 2. Generic for 
dishonest practices ; but applied to 
any kind of action, contrivance, or 
trade : see Fake. 3. Small properties, 

Fakement - Charley. An owner's 
private mark. 

.- Faker. 1. One who makes, does, 
or fakes anything ; specifically a 
thief. Found in many combinations : 
e.g. Bit - faker, Flue - faker, Grub- 
faker, Sham-faker, Twat-faker, etc. 
2. A circus rider or performer. 

Fakes and Slumboes. Properties, 
accessories of any kind. 

Faking. The act of doing any- 
thing : Fr., maquillage (or goupinage), 

Fall. 1. To be arrested. 2. To 
conceive : see Lumpy. 

Fall of the Leaf (The). Hanging : 
see Ladder. 

False - hereafter. A bustle : see 

F a m. See Fambling-cheat and 

F a m b 1 e (Fam, or Fem). The 
hand : see Fambling-cheat : see Bunch 
of fives and Daddle. As verb, to 
touch, to handle, especially with a 
view to ascertaining the whereabouts 
of valuables. Also To fam for the 
plant : see To run a rule over. 

Famblers (Fambling - cheats, or 
Fam-snatchers). Gloves. 

Fambling- cheat (Famble, or 
Fam). A ring ; also (about 1694) 
gloves, which later still were also 
called Fam-snatchers (q.v.) (1560). 

Fam-grasp. To shake hands : also 
subs., hand-shaking. 

Familiars. Lice : see Chates. 

Familiar -way. With child. 

Family-disturbance. Whisky : see 

Family - hotel. A prison : see 

Family-man. A thief ; specifically, 
a fence (q.v.). [In allusion to the 
fraternities into which thieves were at 
one time invariably banded.] (1749). 

Family-plate. Silver money : see 

Family-pound. A family grave. 

Fam -lay. Shoplifting. 

Fam-snatchers. Gloves : cf. 

Fam-squeeze. Strangulation. 

Fam-struck. Baffled in ascertain, 
ing the whereabouts of valuables on 
the person of an intended victim ; also 

Fan. A waistcoat ; said by Hotten 
(1864) to be a Houndsditch term, but 
quoted in Matsell (1859) as American. 
English synonyms : ben, benjie, M.B. 




waistcoat, Charley Prescot. As verb, 
(1) to beat, to be-ratc. (2) To feel, 
handle (with a view to ascertain if a 
victim has anything valuable about 
his person). Also to steal from the 
person. Queen Anne's fan : see post. 

Fancy. The fraternity of pugilists : 
prize-fighting being once regarded aa 
The fancy, par excellence. Hence, by 
implication, people who cultivate a 
special hobby or taste. 

Fancy-bloke. 1. A sporting man. 
2. See Fancy-man. 

Fancy-house. A brotheL 

Fancy-Joseph. An Apple-squire 
(q.v.), Cupid. 

Fancy-lay. Pugilism. 

Fancy-man (or bloke). A 
prostitute's lover, husband, or pen- 
sioner. English synonyms! apple- 
squire, faker, bully, ponce, pensioner, 
Sunday-man, fancy-Joseph, squire of 
the body, apron - squire, petticoat 
pensioner, prosser, twat-faker, twat- 
master, stallion, mack, bouncer, 
bruiser, buck. 

Fancy-piece. A prostitute. 

Fancy-work. To take in fancy 
work, to play the harlot. 

Fang-faker. A dentist. 

Fanning. 1. Stealing ; Cross- 
fanning, robbery from the person, the 
arms of the manipulator being folded. 
2. A beating. 

Fanny Adams. Tinned mutton. 

Fanny Blair. The hair. 

Fantail. A sort of round hat 
with a long leathern fan-shaped flap 
at the back ; worn by coal-heavers 
and dustmen; a Sou'-wester (q.v.). 

Fanteague. On the Fanteague, on 
the burst, or loose. 

Far - back. An indifferent work- 
man, ignoramus. 

Farden. A farthing : see Rhino. 

Farm. 1. An establishment where 
pauper or illegitimate children were 
lodged and fed at so much a head. 
Also verbally, to contract to feed and 
lodge pauper or illegitimate children. 
2. The prison infirmary. To fetch the 
farm, to be ordered infirmary diet 
and treatment : see Fetch. 

Farmer. 1. An alderman. 2. 
One who contracts to lodge and feed 
pauper or illegitimate children. 

Farthing. To care not a brass 
farthing, to care nothing. Chaucer 
uses the expression ' no farthing of 

grease * as equivalent to a small 

Fast. 1. Embarrassed, hard-up, 
in a tight place. 2. Dissipated, ad- 
dicted to going the pace : e.g. a fast 
man, a rake-hell, or spendthrift ; a 
fast woman, a strumpet ; a fast life, a 
life of debauchery ; a fast house, a 
brothel, or a sporting tavern ; to dress 
fast, to dress for the town ; to live 
fast, to go the pace, and so forth 
(1751). 3. Impudent, cheeky: e.g. 
Don't you be so fast, Mind your own 
business. To play fast and loose, to be 
variable, inconstant, say one thing 
and do another. 

Fastener (or Fastner). A warrant. 

Fat. 1. Money: Fr., graisse: see 
Rhino. 2. Composition full of blank 
spaces or in short lines. Verse is 
frequently fat, while this dictionary, 
with its constant change of type, is 
lean (q.v.). Hence, work that pays 
well : Fr., affaire juteuse. 3. A good 
part ; telling lines and conspicuous or 
commanding situations : Fr., des 
cotelettes. As adj., (1) rich, abundant, 
profitable. (2) Good. Cut it fat: see 
Cut. Cut up fat: see Cut up. All 
the fat's in the fire, said of failures and 
of the results of sudden and un- 
expected revelation, disappointments : 
i.e. it is all over or up with a 
person or thing. A late equivalent is, 
And then the band played. Fat as 
a hen's forehead, meagre, skinny (q.v.). 

Fat- (Barge-, Broad- or Heavy-) 
arsed. Broad in the breech ; and, 
by implication (in Richard Baxter's 
Shove to Heavy Arsed Christians), 
thick-witted and slow to move. 

Fat- (or Thick-) chops. A con- 
tumelious epithet. 

Fater (Faytor, or Fator). A 
fortune-teller. In Spencer, a doer ; in 
Bailey, an idle fellow, vagabond : Fr., 

Fat-flab (Winchester School). 
A cut off the fat part of a breast of 
mutton : see Cat's-head. 

Fat- (or Full-) guts. An oppro- 
brious epithet for a fat man or 

Fat-head. A dolt Fat -headed 
(-skulled, -thoughted, -paled, -grained, 
or -witted), dull, stupid, slow. 

Father. 1. A receiver of stolen 
property, fence (q.v.). 2. A chief in 
authority, elder : e.g. The father of 
the house, the oldest member of the 


Father Derbies Bands. 


House of Commons (cf. Babe) ; 
among printers, the chairman of the 
Chapel (q.v.), tne intermediary be- 
tween master and men ; in naval 
circles, the builder of a man-of-war 
or Government ' bottom.' 

Father Derbie's Bands. See 

Father's Brother. A pawnbroker, 
My uncle (q.v.). 

Fat Jack of the Bone-house. A con- 
tumelious epithet for a very stout man. 

Fatness. Wealth : Fat, rich. 

Fatten - up. To write Fat (subs., 
sense 3) into a part. 

Fat - *un. An emission of peculiar 
rankness, ' roarer ' (Swift). 

Fatty (Fatymus, or Fattyma). 
A jocular epithet for a fat man ; a 
comic endearment for a fat woman. 

Faugh - a - Ballagh Boys. The 
Eighty-Seventh Foot ; also known 
as the Eagle-takers (q.v.), and the 
Old Fogs (q.v.). [From Fag an bealac, 
Clear the Way, the . regimental 
march.] >'* l^t.TC^W^ 

Faulkner. A tumbler, juggler.!?! 

Fawney (or Fauney). 1. A ring : 
Fr., brobuante, broquille, chason. 2. 
A swindle (also Fawney '-dropping, or 
rig), worked as follows : A ring 
(snide) is let drop in front of a passer- 
by, who picks it up, and is confronted 
by the dropper, who claims to share. 
In consideration of immediate settle- 
ment he offers to accept something less 
than the apparent value in cash. 
Also done with pocket-books, meer- 
schaum pipes, etc. Fawney -dropper, 
one that practices the ring-dropping 
trick; Fawney -bouncing, selling rings 
for a pretended wager ; Fawnied, 
ringed (1789). 

Feager. ' One that beggeth with 
counterfeit writings ' (Rowlands, 

Feague. To send packing, whiff 
away. ^f- j$ 

Peak. The fundament. 

Feather. 1. Kind, species, com- 
pany : cf. Birds of a feather : see 
Kidney (1608). 2. In pi., money, 
wealth : see Rhino. In full feather ( 1 ), 
rich. (2) In full costume ; with all 
one's war paint on. In high (or full) 
feather, elated, brilliant, conspicuous. 
To feather one's nest, to amass money ; 
specifically to enrich oneself by in- 
direct pickings and emoluments (1590). 
To feather an oar, in rowing, to turn 

the blade horizontally, with the upper 
edge pointing aft, as it leaves the 
water, for the purpose of lessening the 
resistance of the air upon it. To 
show the white feather, to turn cur, 
prove oneself a coward. [Among 
game cocks a cross-bred bird is known 
by a white feather in the tail. Of old 
the breed was strictly preserved in 
England, for though birds of all 
descriptions were reared in the farm- 
yard, special care was taken that game 
fowls did not mix with them ; but this 
would occasionally happen, and while 
the game birds were only red and 
black, white feathers would naturally 
appear when there was any cross. 
The slightest impurity of strain was 
said to destroy the bird's courage, and 
the half-breeds were never trained for 
the pit. It became an adage that any 
cock would fight on his own dunghill, 
but it must be one without a white 
feather to fight in the pit.] 

Feather-bed and pillows. A fat 

Feather-bed Lane. A rough or 
stony lane. 

Feather-bed Soldier (old col- 
loquial). A practised and determined 
loose liver. 

Feck. To discover a safe way of 
stealing or swindling. 

Feed. A meal, Spread (q.v.), 
Blow-out (q.v.): Fr., lampie. As 
verb (1), to support, backup. (2) To 
prompt. (3) To teach or cram (q.v.) for 
an examination. At feed, at meat. 
To be off one's feed, to have a distaste 
for food. To feed the fishes, to be sea- 
sick ; also to be drowned. To feed 
the press, to send up copy slip by slip. 

Feeder. 1. A spoon ; among thieves 
a silver spoon. To nab a feeder, to 
steal a spoon (Grose). 2. A tutor, 
crammer (q.v.). coach (q.v.) (1766). 

Feeding - bottle. The paps : see 

Feel. See Bones. 

Feele. A girl or daughter : see 
Titter: Fr., fille ; It., figlia. Feeles, 
mother and daughter. 

Feeler. 1. A device or remark 
designed to bring out the opinions 
of others. 2. The hand : see Bunch 
of Fives. 

Feet. Making feet for children's 
stockings, begetting or breeding chil- 
dren. Officer of feet, an officer of 
infantry (Grose). How's your poor 



feet ? a street catch phrase in the 
early part of the sixties. [Henry 
Irving's revival of ' The Dead Heart ' 
revived this bit of slang. . . . When the 
play was brought out originally, 
where one of the characters says, ' My 
heart is dead, dead, dead ! ' a voice 
from the gallery nearly broke up the 
drama with ' How are your poor feet ? 
The phrase lived.] 

Feet-casements. Boots or shoes : 
see Trotter-cases. 

Feeze (Feaze, Feize, or Pheeze). 
To beat. 

Feint. A pawnbroker: see My uncle. 

Feker. Trade, profession. 

Fell. Fell a bit on, to act craftily, 
in an underhand manner. 

Fell -and -didn't. Said of a man 
walking lame. 

Fellow. See Old fellow. 

Fellow - commoner. An empty 
bottle: see Dead man (1794). 

Felt. A hat of felted wool : see 
Golgotha (1609). 

Fern. See Famble. 

Fen. A prostitute (Grose). As verb 
(also Fend, Fain, Fainits, etc.), a term 
of warning, or of prohibition : as to 
prevent any change in the existing 
conditions of a game ; e.g. at marbles, 
Fen-placings, no alteration in position 
of marbles is permissible ; Fen-clear- 
ances, removal of obstacles is for- 

.Fence. 1. A purchaser or receiver 
of stolen goods. English synonyms : 
fencing master (or cully), billy-fencer, 
angling cove, stallsman, Ikey, family- 
man, father (1714). 2. A place 
where stolen goods are purchased or 
received : FT., moulin. As verb, ( 1 ) to 
purchase or receive stolen goods (1610). 
(2) To spend money (1728). To be 
(ait, or ride) on the fence, to be neutral, 
ready to join the winning side, to 
wait to see how the cat will jump : 
also, to sit on both sides of the hedge. 
Those who thus seek to run with the 
hare and hunt with the hounds are 
called Fence-men. The operation is 
Fence-riding, which sometimes quali- 
fies for rail-riding (q.v.). 

Fencer. A hawker of small wares, 
tramp : generally used in connection 
with another word ; thus, Driz-fencer 
(q.v.), a pedlar of lace. 

Fencing-crib (or ken). A place 
where stolen goods are purchased or 

Fencing-cully. A receiver of stolen 

Fen - nightingale. A frog : also 
Cambridgeshire, and Cape Night- 

Ferguson. You can't lodge here, 
Mr. Ferguson, a street cry, popular 
about 1846-50 ; used in derision or 
denial. [Mr. J. H. Dixon, writing to 
Mr. John Camden Hotten, under date 
Nov. 6, 1864, says the phrase originated 
thus : A young Scotsman, named 
Ferguson, visited Epsom races, where 
he got very drunk. His friends 
applied to several hotel keepers to give 
him a bed, but in vain. There was 
no place for Mr. Ferguson. He was 
accordingly driven to London by his 
companions, who kept calling out, 
Ferguson, you can't lodge here. This 
was caught up by the crowd, repeated, 
and in a week was all over London, and 
in a month all over the kingdom. Mr 
Dixon states he was introduced to 
Mr. Ferguson, and that two of his 
companions were intimate friends.] 

Perm. A hole : with Spencer, a 
prison (1632). 

Ferret. 1. A barge-thief. 2. A 
dunning tradesman. 3. A pawn- 
broker : see My uncle. To ferret ovt, 
to be at pains to penetrate a mystery 
of any kind by working under- 

Ferricadouzer. A knock - down 
blow, a thrashing. 

F e s s. To confess, own up : FT., 
norguer. As adj., proud. 

Festive. Loud, fast ; a kind of 
general utility word. Gay and festive 
cuss (Artemus Ward), a rollicking 

Fetch. 1. A stratagem ; indirectly 
bringing something to pass ( 1576). 2. 
A success. 3. A likeness : e.g. the 
very fetch of him, his very image or 
spit (q.v.) : also an apparition. As 
verb, ( 1 ) to please, excite admiration, 
arouse attention or interest (1607). 
(2) To get, do. Some combinations are 
To fetch the farm, to get infirmary 
treatment and diet ; to fetch a stinger, 
(colloquial), to get in a heavy blow ; 
to fetch a lagging (thieves'), to serve 
one's term ; to fetch a howl, to cry ; to 
fetch a crack, to strike ; to fetch a cir- 
cumbendibus, to make a detour ; to 
fetch the brewer, to get drunk. To 
fetch away, to part ; e.g. A fool and 
his money are soon fetched away. To 



Fieri Facias. 

fetch up, 1. to stop ; to run against. 2. 
To startle. 3. To come to light. 4. 
To recruit one's strength after illness. 
Fetching, attractive (as of women), 
pleasing (as of a dress or bonnet). 

Fettle. In good (or in proper) 
fettle, drunk. 

Few. A few (or Just a few), origin- 
ally a little. Hence, by implication, 
on the lucus a non lucendo prin- 
ciple, considerably ; e.g. Were you 
alarmed ? No, but I was astonished 
a few ! i.e. I was greatly surprised : 
cf. Rather, a good deal (1778). 

Fib. 1. To beat, specifically (pugil- 
ism) to get in a quick succession of 
blows, as when you get your man 
round the neck (i.e. in chancery) and 
pommel his ribs and face (1665). 2. 
To lie (1694). Also, used substan- 
tively, (1) a lie, (2) a liar (1738). 

Fibber. A liar (1748). 

Fibbery. Lying. 

Fibbing. 1. Pummelh'ng an op- 
ponent's head while ' in chancery,' 
drubbing : Fr., bordee de coups de 
poings. 2. Lying. 

Fibbing-gloak. A pugilist. 

Fibbing-match. A prize-fight. 

Fibster. A liar. 

Fiddle. 1. A sharper ; sometimes 
Old fiddle : see Rook. 2. A swindle : 
see Sell. 3. A whip. 4. A fiddle on 
which to play a tune called ' Four 
pounds of oakum a day ' a piece of 
rope and a long crooked nail. 5. 
(Stock Exchange). One sixteenth 
part of a pound. 6. A watchman's 
(or policeman's) rattle. 7. A six- 
pence : see Rhino, and cf. Fiddler's 
money. As verb, (1) to trifle, especi- 
ally with the hands (1663). (2) To 
cheat, specifically, to gamble. (3) To 
earn a livelihood by doing small 
jobs on the street. (4) To intrigue. 
(5) To strike. Scotch fiddle, the itch. 
To hang up the fiddle, to abandon 
an undertaking. To play first (or 
second) fiddle, to take a leading or 
a subordinate part. Among tailors 
second fiddle, an unpleasant task. 
Fit as a fiddle, in good form or con- 
dition. See Fiddle-de-dee. 

Fiddle-faced. Wizened, also sub- 

Fiddle-faddle. Twaddling, trifling, 
'little nothings,' rot (q.v.): Fr., oui, 
lea landers ! (1593). As adj., trifling, 
fussy, fluffing (1712). As verb, to 
toy, trifle, talk nonsense, gossip, 

make much cry and little wool. 
(1761). Also Fiddle - faddler, one 
inclined to Fiddle-faddles. 

Fiddle - head. A plain prow as 
distinguished from a figure - head : 
Hence Fiddle-headed, plain, ugly. 

Fiddler. 1. A trifler, a careless, 
negligent, or dilatory person. 2. A 
sharper, cheat ; also Fiddle (q.v.). 3. 
A prize-fighter ; one who depends 
more on activity than upon strength 
or stay. 4. A sixpence. [From 
the old custom of each couple at a 
dance paying the fiddler a sixpence : cf. 
Fiddler's-money.] 5. A farthing : see 

Fiddlers' -fare. Meat, drink, and 
money (Grose). 

Fiddlers' -green. A sailor's elysium 
(situate on the hither and cooler 
side of hell) of wine, women, and 

Fiddlers' -money. Sixpences : see 
Rhino. [From the custom at country 
merry-makings of each couple paying 
the fiddler sixpence.] Also generic- 
ally, small silver. 

Fiddlestick! Nonsense: sometimes 
Fiddlestick's end and Fiddle-de-dee 
(1610). As subs., A spring saw. 2. A 

Fiddling. 1. A livelihood got on 
the streets, holding horses, carrying 
parcels, etc. 2. Buying a thing for 
a mere trifle, and selling it for double, 
or for more. 3. Idling, trifling. 4. 
Gambling. As adj., trifling, trivial, 
fussing with nothing (1667). 

Fid - fad. A contracted form of 
Fiddle-faddle (q.v.) ; also applied to 
persons (1754). 

Fidlam-bens (or coves). Thieves 
who steal anything they can lay 
hands on : also St. Peter's sons. 

Field. To chop the field, to win 

Fielder. A backer of the field 
i.e. the ruck (q.v.), as against the 
favourite]. At cricket, a player in 
the field as against those at the 

Field-lane Duck. A baked sheep's 

Fient (Scots colloquial). An ex- 
pression of negation : e.g. Fient a hair 
care I, Devil a hair I care. 

Fieri Facias. To have been served 
with a writ of fieri facias, said of a red- 
nosed man. [A play upon words.] 


Fiery Lot. 

Filch wav. 

Fiery Lot. Fast (q.v.), rollicking, 
applied to a hot member (q.v.). 

Fiery Snorter. A red nose. 

Fifer. 1. A waistcoat hand. 2. 
A native of the Kingdom (q.v.), i.e. 
the county of Fife. 

Fi-fi (or fie-fie). Indecent, blue, or 

Fifteener. A book printed in the 
15th century. 

Fifth Rib. To hit (dig, or poke) 
one under the fifth rib, to deliver a 
heavy blow, dumbfound. 

Fig. 1. A gesture of contempt made 
by thrusting forth the thumb between 
the fore and middle fingers ; whence 
the expression, I do not care, or would 
not give, a fig for you : FT., je ne 
voudrais pas en donner un ferret 
d'aiguillette : see other similes of 
worthlessness, Curse, Straw, Rush, 
Chip, Cent, Dam, etc. ( 1599). [Italian : 
When the Milanese revolted against 
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa 
they set his Empress hind before upon 
a mule, and thus expelled her. Fred- 
erick afterwards besieged and took the 
city, and compelled all his prisoners, 
on pain of death, to extract with his 
(or her) teeth a fig from the funda- 
ment of a mule and, the thing being 
done, to say in announcement, Ecco 
la fica. Thus far la fica became a 
universal mode of derision. Fr., 
faire la figue ; Ger., die Feigen weisen ; 
It., far le fiche ; Dutch, De vyghe setten. 
2. Dress. In full fig, in full dress. 
As verb, to ginger a horse. To fig 
out, to show off, dress ; don one's war 
paint (q.v.). To fig up, to restore, 
reanimate (as a gingered horse). 

Figaro. A barber. [From Le 
Nozze di Figaro.] 

Figdean. To kill : see Cook one's 

Figged. See Jigged. 

Figger (or Figure). See Fagger. 

Figging- (or Fagging-lay). Pocket- 

Fight. A party ; e.g. Tea fight, 
Wedding-fight, etc. : cf. Scramble, 
Worry, Row. To fight or play 
eoeum: see Cocum. To fight (or 
buck) the tiger : see Buck. One that 
can fight his weight in wild cats, a 
brilliant desperado. 

Fighting - cove. A professional 
pugilist, specifically one wno ' boxes ' 
for a livelihood at fairs, race-meetings, 

Fighting Fifth (The). The Fifth 
Foot. [So distinguished in the Pen- 
insula.] Other nicknames were the 
Shiners (in 1764, from its clean and 
smart appearance) ; The Old Bold 
Fifth (also Peninsular) ; and Lord 
Wellington's Body Guard (it was at 
headquarters in 1811). 

Fighting Ninth (The). The Ninth 
Foot Also Holy Boys (Peninsular), 
from its selling its Bibles for drink. 

Fighting-tight Drunk and 
quarrelsome : see Screwed. 

Fig-leaf. An apron. In fencing, 
the padded shield worn over the 
lower abdomen and right thigh : Fr., 
petite bannette. 

Figs (also Figgins). A grocer. 

Figure. 1. Appearance, conduct ; 
e.g. to cut a good or bad figure, a mean 
figure, sorry figure, etc. (1712). 2. 
Paps and posteriors ; said only of 
women. A T o figure, wanting in both 
particulars. As verb, to single out, spot 
(q.v.). Figure, like Fetch, comes in for 
a good deal of hard work in America. 
It is colloquially equivalent to ' count 
upon ' ; as, You may figure on getting 
a reply by return mail ; also, to strive 
for. To figure on [a thing], to think it 
over ; to figure out, to estimate ; to 
figure up, to add up ; to cut a figure, see 
Cut ; to go the whole figure, to be 
thorough ; to go the big figure, to launch 
out ; to miss a figure, to make a mis- 

Figure-dancer. A manipulator of 
the face value of banknotes, cheques, 
and paper security generally (Grose). 
I, Figure-head. The face : see Dial, 
i Figure-maker. Awencher. 

Figure (or Number) Six. A lock of 
hair brought down from the forehead, 
greased, twisted spirally, and plastered 
on the face : see Aggerawator. 

Filbert. Cracked in the filbert, 
crazy ; a variant of Wrong in the nut 
(q.v.) or Upper storey. 

Filch. 1. To steal : specifically to 
pilfer (1567). 2. To beat As subs., 
a thief. 

Filcher (or Filch). A thief. 

Filchman (or Filch). A thief s 
hooked staff : ' He carries a short 
staff in his hand, which is called a 
filch, having in the nab or head of it a 
ferme (that is to say a hole) into which, 
upon any piece of service, when he 
goes a filching, he putteth a hooke of 
iron, with which hooke he angles at 




a window in the dead of night for 
shirts, smockes, or any other linen or 
woollen ' (Dekker). 

File. 1. A pickpocket : also file 
cloy (or bung nipper) : Fr., poisse a la 
detourne (1754). As verb, to pick 
pockets. 2. A man : i.e. a cove (q.v.). 
Thus silent file (Fr. lime sourde), a 
dumb man; dose -file, a miser, or a 
person not given to blabbing ; hard- 
file, a grasper (q.v.) ; old file, an elder ; 
and so forth. 

Filing-lay. Pocket - picking 

Filling at the Price. Satisfying. 

Fill. Fill one's pipe. To attain to 
easy circumstances. Fill the bill, to 
excel in conspicuousness : as a star 
actor whose name is ' billed ' to the 
exclusion of the rest of the company. 
Hence, by implication, out of the 
common run of things ; e.g. That fills 
the bill, that takes the cake, for a lie, 
an effect, an appearance anything. 
Fill the bin, to be beyond question, 
come up to the mark ; e.g. Is the news 
reliable ? Yes, it fills the bin. 

Fillupey. Satisfying. 

Filly. A girl ; specifically a 
wanton : among thieves, a daughter 

Filth. A prostitute (1602). 

Fimble - f amble. A lame excuse, 
prevaricating answer. 

Fin. The arm ; also the hand : 
Fr., nageoire : To tip the fin, to shake 
hands (Grose). 

Find (Harrow). A mess of three 
or four upper boys which teas and 
breakfasts in the rooms of one or 
other of the set. Find-fag, a fag who 
provides for, or finds, upper boys. 

Finder. 1. A thief; specifically a 
meat- market thief. 2. (Oxford Uni- 
versity). A waiter ; especially at 

Fine. Punishment, a term of im- 
prisonment. To fine, to sentence. 
To cut it fine, see Cut fine. To get 
one down fine and dose, to find out all 
about a man, deliver a stinging blow. 
All very fine and large, an interjection 
of (1) approval, (2) derision, and (3) 
incredulity. [The refrain of a music- 
hall song excessively popular about 
1886-88.] Fine as fivepence : see 
Fivepence. Fine day for the young 
ducks, a very wet day. Fine words 
butter no parsnips, a sarcastic retort 
upon large promises. 

Fine-drawing. Accomplishing an 
end without discovery. 

Fineer (and Fineering). 
Running into debt ; getting goods 
made in such a fashion as to be unfit 
for every other purchaser, and if the 
tradesman refuses to give them on 
credit, then threatens to leave them 
upon his hands (Goldsmith). 

Fine-madam. An epithet of envy or 
derision for one above her station. 

Finger. A ' nip,' usually ap- 
plied to spirituous liquors. Thus, 
Three fingers of clear juice, Three 
' goes ' of whisky. To put the finger 
in the eye, to weep (Grose). 

Finger - and - thumb. A road or 
highway, i.e. drum. 

Finger-better. A man who bets on 
credit ; also one who points out cards. 

Finger-post. A clergyman. 

Finger - smith. 1. A pickpocket. 
2. A midwife : Fr., Madame tire- 
monde (or tire-pouce, tire-m6mes). 

Finish. To kill. 

Finisher. Something that gives 
the last, the settling touch to any- 
thing: see Corker, Clincher, etc. 

F i n j y ! (Winchester College). 
An exclamation excusing one from 
participation hi an unpleasant or un- 
acceptable task, which he who says 
the word last has to undertake. 

Finnuf. See Finnup. 

Finnup (also Finnip, Finnuf 
Finnif , Finnic, Finn, or Fin) . A five 
pound note or Flimsy (q.v.) [A 
Yiddish pronunciation of German 
ficnf, five.] Also Finnup ready, 
ready money : hi America, Finnup, a 
five dollar bill. Double finnup, a ten 
pound note. 

Fippenny. A clasp knife : see Chive. 

Fire. Danger. Like a house on 
fire, easily and rapidly : cf. House, 
Winking, One o'clock, Cake, Brick, 
etc. To fire a slug, to drink a dram 
(Grose). To fire a gun, to introduce 
a story by head and shoulders, lead 
up to a subject (Grose). To set the 
Thames on fire, to do some next-to- 
impossible task, to be exceptionally 
clever ; used negatively in sarcasm. 

Fire and Light. A master-at-arms. 

Fired. Arrested, turned out, and 
(among artists) rejected. 

Fire-eater. In Old Cant a quick- 
worker ; and in modern English, a 
duellist or bully : also Fire-eating. 




Fire-escape. A clergyman. 

Fire-prigger. A thief whose venue 
is a conflagration (Grose). 

Fire-spaniel. A soldier who 
nurses the barrack-room fire : syn- 
onyms are: fire-dog, fire- worshipper, 
chimney - ornament, fender - guard, 
and cuddle-chimney. 

Firewater. Ardent spirits. 

Fireworks. A state of disturb- 
ance, mental excitement : e.g. Fire- 
works on the brain, a fluster. 

Firk. To beat (1599). 

Firkytoodle. To caress. English 
synonyms : to canoodle, to fiddle, to 
mess (or pull) about, to slewther 
(Irish), to spoon, to crooky, to fam. 

Firmed. See Well-firmed. 

First - chop. First rate. [From 
Hind., chaap, a stamp, an official 
mark on weights and measures ; 
hence used to signify quality.] Also 
Second-chop (q.v.). 

First-flight. In the first flight 
those first in at the finish ; in fox- 
hunting those in at the death. 

First-nighter. An habitue 
of theatrical first- performances. 

First-night Wrecker. See Wrecker. 

Fish. 1. A man ; generally in con- 
tempt or disparagement, as Odd fish, 
Loose fish, Queer fish, Scaly fish, Shy 
fish. 2. Pieces cut out of garments to 
make them fit close. As verb, to 
attempt to obtain by artifice, seek in- 
directly, curry favour. Pretty kettle 
of fish, a perplexing state of affairs, 
quandary. To have other fish to fry, to 
have other business on hand. To be 
neither fish nor flesh, to be neither one 
thing nor another ; said of waverers 
and nondescripts ; sometimes ex- 
tended to Neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor 
good red herring (1598). 

Fish-broth. Water : see Adam's 
ale (1599). 

Fisher. A lick-spittle ; only used 

Fishhooks. The fingers : see Forks. 

Fishmarket. The lowest hole at 
bagatelle, Simon (q.v.). 

Fishy. Effete, dubious, or seedy 
(of persons) : unsound, or equivocal 
(of things). Also Fishiness, unsound- 

Fist. 1. Handwriting : FT., la 
cape. 2. A workman. Good fist, a 
good workman. 3. An index hand. 
As verb, (1) to apprehend (1598). 2. 
To take hold : e.g. Just you fist that 

scrubbing brush, and set to work. 
To put up one's fist, to acknowledge a 
fact : cf. Fill the bin and acknowledge 
the corn. 

Fit. Suitable, in good form. Fit 
as a fiddle, in perfect condition. To 
fit like a ball of wax, to fit close to the 
skin. To fit like a sentry box, to fit 
badly. To fit like a glove, to fit per- 
fectly. To fit to a T, to fit to a nicety. 
[In reference to the T square used in 
drawing.] To fit up a show, to ar- 
range an exhibition. 

Fitch's Grenadiers. The Eighty- 
Third Foot. [From the small stature 
of the men and the name of the first 

Fits. To beat into fits : see Beat 
and Creation. 

Fitter. A burglar's locksmith. 

Fit-up. A small company: also 
used adjectively : see Conscience. 

Five-fingers. The five of trumps 
in the game of Don or Five Cards 

Fiver. Anything that counts as 
five ; specifically a five- pound note : 
cf. Finn. 

Five over Five. Said of people 
who turn in their toes. 

Fivepence. As fine (or as grand), 
as fivepence (or as fippence), as fine as 
possible : cf. As neat as ninepence 

Fives. 1. The fingers. Bunch of 
fives, the fist : see Forks (1629). Also 
the feet. 2. A fight 

Fix. A dilemma ; frequently in con- 
junction with Awful (q.v.) and Regu- 
lar (q.v.), e.g. An awful fix, a terrible 
position. Variants are Cornered, Up 
a tree, Up a close, Under a cloud, In a 
scrape : FT., avoir des mots avec les 
sergots, to run amuck of the police. 
As verb, (1) to arrest (1789). (2) A 
general verb of action. Everything is 
fixed except the meaning of the word 
itself. The farmer fixes his fences, 
the mechanic his work- bench, the 
seamstress her sewing-machine, the 
fine lady her hair, and the schoolboy 
his books. The minister has to fix 
his sermon, the doctor to fix his 
medicines, the lawyer to fix his brief. 
Dickens was requested to un-fix his 
straps ; eatables are fixed for a meal ; 
a girl unfixes herself to go to bed, and 
fixes herself up to go for a walk. At 
public meetings it is fixed who are to 
be the candidates for office ; rules are 




fixed to govern an institution, and 
when the arrangements are made the 
people contentedly say, Now every- 
thing is fixed nicely. To fix the 
ballot box, to tamper with returns. 
Anyhow (or nohow) you can or can't 
fix it : see Anyhow. To fix one's 
flint, to settle one's hash : see Cook 
one's goose (1835). To fix up, to settle, 

Fixings. A noun of all work : 
applied to any and everything. 

Fiz (or Fizz). Champagne; some- 
times lemonade and ginger-beer : see 

Fiz-gig. A firework. 

Fizzer. Anything first-rate : cf. 

Fizzing. First-rate. English 
synonyms: Al, cheery, clean wheat, 
clipping, crack, creamy, crushing, 
first chop, first-class, first-rate, or (in 
America) first-rate and a half, hunky, 
jammy, jonnick, lummy, nap, out- 
and-out, pink, plummy, proper, real 
jam, right as ninepence, ripping, 
rooter, rum, screaming, scrumptious, 
ship-shape, slap-up, slick, splenda- 
cious, splendiferous, to rights, tip-top, 
true marmalade, tsing-tsing. 

Fizzle. A ridiculous failure, 
flash in the pan : in many of the 
United States colleges, the term=a 
blundering recitation. To hit just 
one third of the meaning constitutes 
a perfect fizzle. As verb, to fail in 
reciting, recite badly. Also (said of 
an instructor) to cause one to fail at 
reciting. At some American colleges 
Flunk (q.v.) is the common word for 
an utter failure. To Fizzle, to stumble 
through at last. 

Flabbergast. To astound, stagger, 
either physically or mentally (1772). 

Flabberdegaz. Words interpolated 
to dissemble a lapse of memory, Gag 
(q.v.). Also, imperfect utterance or 
bad acting. 

Flag. 1. A groat, fourpenny piece : 
also Flagg, and Flagge : see Rhino 
(1567). 2. An apron ; hence a badge 
of office or trade : cf. Flag-flasher. 3. 
A jade (1539). To fly the flag, to post 
a notice that hands are wanted. 

Flag of Defiance. A drunken 
roysterer : see Lushington. To hang 
out the flag of defiance (or bloody flag), 
to be continuously drunk. 

Flag-flasher. One sporting a 
or other ensign of office 

(cap, apron, uniform, etc.) when off 

Flag-about. A strumpet. 

Flag -flying. See Flag. 

Flag of Distress. 1. A card an- 
nouncing lodgings, or board and 
lodgings. Hence, any overt sign of 
poverty. 2. A flying shirt-tail; in 
America, a letter in the post-office 

Flagger. A street-walker. 

Flags. Linen drying and flying in 
the wind. 

Flag Unfurled. A man of the 

Flag-wagging. Flag-signal drill. 

Flam. 1. Nonsense (for synonyms, 
see Gammon), humbug, flattery, or 
a lie : as a regular flam (1598). 2. A 
single stroke on the drum (Orose). As 
adj., false. As verb, (1) to take in, 
flatter, lie, foist or fob off. Flamming, 
lying. (2) (American University). To 
affect, or prefer, female society. 

Flambustious. Showy, gaudy, 

Flamdoodle. Nonsense, vain 
boasting. Probably a variant of 
Flapdoodle (q.v.). 

Flame. 1. A sweetheart, mistress 
in keeping. Old flame, an old lover, 
cast-off mistress (1664). Also, 2. a 
venereal disease. 

Flamer. A man, woman, thing, or 
incident above the common. 

Flames. A red-haired person : 
cf. Carrots and Ginger. 

Flaming. Conspicuous, ardent, 
stunning (q.v.) : see Al (1738). 

Flanderkin. A very large fat 
man or horse ; also natives of Flanders 
(B. E.). 

Flanders-fortunes. Of small sub- 
stance (B. E.). 

Flanders - pieces. Pictures that 
look fair at a distance, but coarser 
near at hand (B. E.). 

Flank. 1. To crack a whip ; also, 
to hit a mark with the lash of one. 
2. To deliver a blow or a retort, 
push, hustle, quoit (Shakespeare) : Fr., 
flanquer. A plate of thin flank, a 
sixpenny cut off the joint. To 
flank the whole bottle, to dodge, i.e. to 
outflank, to achieve by strategy. 

Flanker. A blow, retort, kick. 

Flankey. The posteriors. 

Flannel. See Hot flannel. 

Flannels. To get one's flannels, 
to get a place in the school football 




or cricket teams, or in the boats : of. 
to get one's colours, or, one's blue. 

Flap. 1. Sheet- lead used for roof- 
ing: Pr..doussin, noir : cf. Bluey. 2. 
A blow (1539). As verb, (1) to rob, 
swindle. 2. To pay, fork out. To 
flap a jay, to swindle a greenhorn, sell 
a pup (q.v.). To flap the dimmock, to 

Flapdoodle. 1. Transparent 
nonsense, kid. Also Flamdoodle, 
Flamsauce, or Flap-sauce : see Gam- 
mon. To talk flapdoodle, to brag, 
talk nonsense. 

Flapdoodler. A braggart agitator, 
one that makes the eagle squeal (q.v.), 

Flap-dragon. To gulp down 
hastily, as in the game of flap-dragon 

Flap man. A convict promoted 
for good behaviour to first or second 

Flapper. 1. The hand ; also Flap- 
per-shaker : see Daddle. 2. A little 
girl. [Also a fledgling wild duck.] 
3. A very young prostitute. 4. A 
dustman's or coalheaver's hat, a 
Fantail (q.v.). 5. (in pi.). Very 
long- pointed shoes worn by nigger 
minstrels. 6. A parasite ; a remem- 

Flapper- shaking. Hand-shaking. 

Flap-sauce. See Flapdoodle. 

Flare. 1. Primarily a stylish 
craft ; hence, by implication, anything 
out of the common. 2. A row, dispute, 
drunk, or spree. As verb, (1) speci- 
fically to whisk out ; hence, to steal 
actively, lightly, or delicately. 2. 
To swagger, go with a bounce. All 
of a flare, bunglingly. 

Flaring. Excessive: e.g. a flaring 
lie, flaring drunk : see Flaming. 

Flare-up (or -out). An orgie, fight, 
outburst of temper. Also a spree. 
English synonyms: barney, batter, 
bean-feast, beano, breakdown, burst, 
booze (specifically a drinking - bout), 
caper, devil's delight, dust, fanteague, 
fight, flare, flats -yad (back slang), 
fly, gig, hay-bag, hell's delight, high 
jinks, hooping up, hop, jagg, jamboree, 
jump, junket ting, lark, drive, randan, 
on the tiles, on the fly, painting the 
town (American), rampage, razzle- 
dazzle, reeraw, ructions, shake, shine, 
spree, sky-wannocking, tear, tear 
up, toot. As verb, to fly into a 

Flash. 1. The vulgar tongue; the 

lingo of thieves and th<-ir associates. 
To patter flash, to talk in thieves' 
lingo. The derivation of Flash, like 
that of French argot, is entirely specu- 
lative. It has, however, been gener- 
ally referred to a district called Flash 
(the primary signification as a place 
name is not clear), between Buxton 
Leek and Macclesfield : there lived 
many chapmen who, says Dr. Aiken 
(Description of Country round Man- 
chester), ' were known as flash- men . . . 
using a sort of slang or cant dialect.'] 
(1718). 2. Hence, at one period, 
especially during the Regency days, 
the idiom of the man about town, of 
Tom and Jerrydom. 3. A boast, 
brag, or great pretence made by a 
spendthrift, quack, or pretender to 
more art or knowledge than he really 
has. 4. A showy swindler (e.g. Sir 
Petronel Flash) ; a blustering vulgar- 
ian (1605). 5. A peruke or perriwig. 
6. A portion, a drink, go (q.v.). As 
adj., (1) relating to thieves, their 
habits, customs, devices, lingo, etc. 
(2) Knowing, expert, showy, cf. Down, 
Fly, Wide-awake, etc. Hence (popu- 
larly), by a simple transition, vul- 
garly counterfeit, showily shoddy : 
possibly the best understood mean- 
ings of the word in latter-day English. 
To put one flash to anything, to put him 
on his guard ; to inform. (3) Vulgar, 
blackguardly, showy, applied to one 
aping his betters. Hence (in Aus- 
tralia), vain-glorious or swaggering. 
(4) In a set style. Also used sub- 
stantively. Hence, in combination, 
Flash-case (crib, drum, house, ken, or 
panny ) : see Flash - ken ; Flash - cove 
(q.v.); Flash-dispensary (American), 
a boarding house, especially a swell 
brothel ; Flash-gentry, the swell mob 
or higher class of thieves ; Flash-girl 
(moll, -mollisher, -piece, or -woman), a 
showy prostitute ; Flash-jig (costers), 
a favourite dance ; Flash-kiddy, a 
dandy ; Flash-lingo (or song), patter, 
or song interlarded with cant words 
and phrases; Flash - man (q.v.); 
Flash-note, a spurious bank-note ; 
Flash-rider (American) : see Broncho- 
buster ; Flash toggery, smart clothes ; 
Flash vessel, a gaudy looking, but 
undisciplined ship. As verb, (1) to 
show, to expose. Among combina- 
tions may be mentioned To flash 
one's ivories, to show one's teeth, to 
grin (Grose); To flash the hash, to 




vomit (Grose) ; To flash the dicky, to 
show the shirt front ; To flash the 
dibs, to show or spend one's money ; 
To flash a fawney, to wear a ring ; To 
flash one's gab, to talk, to swagger, to 
brag ; To flash the bubs, to expose the 
paps ; To flash the muzzle (q.v.) ; To 
flash one's ticker, to air one's watch ; 
To flash the drag, to wear women's 
clothes for immoral purposes ; To 
flash the white grin : see Grin ; To flash 
the flag, to sport an apron ; To flash 
the wedge, to fence the swag, etc. 
To flash the muzzle, to produce a pistol. 
To flash it about (or to cut a flash or 
dash), to make a display ; to live 
conspicuously and extravagantly. 

Flash-case (-crib, -house, -drum, 
-ken, -panny, etc.) 1. A house 
frequented by thieves, as a tavern, 
lodging-house, fence (q.v.) (1690). 
2. A brothel, any haunt of loose 

Flash - cove (also Flash Com- 
panion). A thief, sharper, fence 

Flash - man. Primarily a man 
talking Flash ; hence, a rogue, thief, 
the landlord of a Flash-case (q.v.). 
Also a Fancy-Joseph. In America, a 
person with no visible means of sup- 
port, but living in style and showing 
up well. 

Flash-of-lightning. 1. A glass of 
gin, dram of neat spirits : see Go 
and Drinks. Latterly, an American 
drink. 2. The gold braid on an 
officer's cap. 

Flashy (Flashily, or Flashly). 
Empty, showy, tawdry, insipid 

Flash-tail. A prostitute. 

Flasher. A high-flyer, fop, pre- 
tender to wit (1779). 

F 1 a s h e r y. Inferior, vulgar : 
hence by inversion, elegance, dash, 
distinction, display. 

Flash - yad (back slang). A day's 

Flashy Blade (or Spark). A 
Dandy (q.v.) ; now a cheap and noisy 
swell, whether male or female : cf. 
Flasher (1719). 

Flat. 1. A greenhorn, noddy, gull : 
see Buffle (1762). 2. An honest 
man. 3. A lover's dismissal, jilting. 
As adj., downright, plain, straight- 
forward : as in That's flat ! a flat lie, 
flat burglary, etc. (1598). There are 
other usages, more or less colloquial 

e.g. Insipid, tame, dull : as in Mac- 
aulay's Flat as champagne in de- 
canters. On the Stock Exchange, 
flat, without interest ; stock is bor- 
rowed flat when no interest is al- 
lowed by the lender as security for the 
due return of the scrip. As verb, to 
jilt. To feel flat (1), to be low- 
spirited, out of sorts, Off colour (q.v.). 
(2) To fail, give way : also used sub- 
stantively. Flat as a flounder (or 
pancake), very flat indeed : also, flat 
as be blowed. To brush up a flat : 
see Brusher. To pick up a flat, to 
find a client : Fr., lever or faire un 

Flat-back. A bed-bug : see Nor 
folk Howard. 

Flat-broke. Utterly ruined, 
Dead-broke (q.v.). 

Flat-catcher. An impostor. 

Flat-catching. Swindling. 

F 1 a t c h (back slang). 1. A half. 
Flatch-kennurd, half drunk ; Flatch- 
yenork, half-a-crown ; Flatch-yennep, a 
half-penny. 2. A half-penny : see 
Rhino. [An abbreviation of Flatch- 
yennep.] 3. A counterfeit half- 
crown : see Rhino. 

Flat - cap. A citizen of London. 
In Henry the Eighth's time flat round 
caps were the pink of fashion ; but 
when their date was out, they be- 
came ridiculous. The citizens con- 
tinued to wear them long after 
they were generally disused, and 
were often satirized for their fidelity.] 

Flat-cock. A female (Orose). 

Flat - feet. Specifically the Foot 
Guards, but also applied to regiments 
of the line. Also (generally with 
some powerful adjective), applied to 
militiamen to differentiate them from 

Flat-fish (generally, a Regular 
Flat-fish). A dullard. 

Flat-footed. Downright, resolute, 
honest. [Western : the simile ia 
common to most languages.] 

Flat-head. A greenhorn, a Sammy- 
soft (q.v.) : see Buffle. 

Flat-iron. A corner public house. 
[From the triangular shape.] 

Flattie (or Flatty). A gull : 
see Buffle. 

Flat - move. An attempt or pro- 
ject that miscarries ; folly and mis- 
management generally (Grose). 

Flats. 1. Playing cards : see King's 




Books. 2. False dice: see Fulhams. 
3. Base money. Mahogany flat*, 
bed-bugs : see Norfolk Howards. 

Flats-and-sharps. Weapons. 

Flatten. To flatten out, to get the 
better of (in argument or fight). Flat- 
tened out, ruined ; beaten. 

Flatter - trap. The mouth : FT., 
menteuse : see Potato-trap. 

Flatty-ken. A house where the 
landlord is not awake, or fly to the 
moves and dodges of the trade. 

Flawed. Half - drunk, a little 
crooked, quick-tempered (Grose) : see 

Flay (or Flay the Fox). 1. To 
vomit : from the subject to the effect, 
says Cotgrave ; for the flaying of so 
stinking a beast is like enough to make 
them spue that feel it. Now, To 
shoot the cat. 2. To clean out by 
unfair means. To flay (or skin) a 
flint, to be mean or miserly : see 

Flaybottom (or Flaybottomist) . 
A schoolmaster, with a play on the 
word phlebotomist, a blood - letter 
(Grose). FT., fouette-cul ; and (Cot- 
grave) Fesse-cul, a pedantical whip- 

Flavour. To catch (or get) 
the flavour, to be intoxicated : see 

Flax. To beat severely ; to give it 
hot (q.v.). 

Flax-wench. A prostitute 

Flea. To send away with a flea in 
the ear, to dismiss with vigour and 
acerbity. To have a flea in the ear, 
(1) to fail in an enterprise; and (2) 
to receive a scolding or annoying 
suggestion. To sit on a bag of fleas, to 
sit uncomfortably ; on a bag of hen 
fleas, very uncomfortably indeed. To 
catch fleas for, to be on terms of ex- 
treme intimacy : e.g. I catch her 
fleas for her, She has nothing to refuse 
me: cf. Shakespeare (' Tempest,' n. ii.), 
' Yet a tailor might scratch her 
where'er she did itch.' In a flea's 
leap, in next to no time, instanter 

Flea-and-louse (rhyming slang), 
A house : see Ken. 

Flea-bag. A bed : FT., pucier. 

Flea-bite. A trifle (1630). 

Flea-biting. A trifle. 

Flea- (or Flay-) Flint. A miser : 
cL Skinflint (q.v.) (1719). 

Flear. To grin. A /tearing fool, 
a grinning idiot. 

Fleece. An act of theft : cf. old 
proverb, To go out to shear and 
come home shorn. As verb, to 
cheat, shear or be shorn (as a sheep) 
(1593). Hence fleeced, ruined ; dead- 
broke (q.v.). 

Fleecer. A thief (1600). 

Fleeter-face. A pale-face, coward : 
cf. Shakespeare's Cream-faced loon. 

Fleet-note. A forged note. 

Fleet-of-the-desert. A caravan : 
see Ship of the desert, camel. 

Fleet-street. The estate of jour- 
nalism, especially journalism of the 
baser sort. Fleet-sir etter, a journalist 
of the baser sort ; a spunging Prophet 
(q.v.) ; a sharking dramatic critic ; a 
Spicy (q.v.) paragraphist ; and so on. 
Fieet-streetese, the so-called English, 
written to sell by the Fleet-streeter 
(q.v.), or baser sort of journalist: a 
mixture of sesquipedalians and slang, 
of phrases worn threadbare and 
phrases sprung from the kennel ; of 
bad grammar and worse manners ; the 
like of which is impossible outside 
Fleet-street (q.v.), but which in 
Fleet-street commands a price, and 
enables not a few to live. 

Fleg. To whip (Bailey). 

Flemish - account. A remittance 
less than expected ; hence, an un- 
satisfactory account. [Among the 
Flemings (the merchants of Western 
Europe when commerce was young) 
accounts were kept in livres, sols, and 
pence ; but the livre or pound onlv= 
12s., so that what the Antwerp mer- 
chant called one livre thirteen and 
fourpence would in English currency 
be only 20s.] (1668). 

Flesh - and - blood. Brandy and 
port in equal proportions. 

Flesh - bag. A shirt or chemise. 
English synonyms : biled rag (Ameri- 
can), camesa, carrion-case, commis- 
sion, dickey (formerly a worn-out 
shirt), gad (gipsy), lully, mill tog, 
mish, narp (Scots'), shaker, shimmy 
(=a chemise, JUarryat), smish. 

Flesh-broker. 1. A match-maker 
(1690). 2. A procuress (Grose). 

Flesh-fly (or Flesh-maggot). A 

Flesh-pot. Sighing for the flesh-pots 
of Egypt, hankering for good things 
no longer at command. [Biblical] 




Flesh - tailor. A surgeon : see 

Fleshy (Winchester College) : 
see Cat's Head. 

Fletch. A spurious coin : cf. Flatch. 
Flick (or Flig). 1. A cut with a 
whip-lash ; hence, a blow of any sort. 
A flicking is often administered by 
schoolboys with a damp towel or 
pocket - handkerchief. 2. A jocular 
salutation ; usually Old Flick. As 
verb, 1. To cut (1690). 2. To strike 
with, or as with, a whip. 

Flicker. A drinking glass. As 
verb (1) to drink (Matsett). (2) To 
laugh wantonly ; also to kiss, or 
lewdly fondle a woman. Also Flick- 
ing, (1) drinking, and (2) wanton 
laughter. Let her flicker, said of any 
doubtful issue : let the matter take its 

Flicket-a-Flacket. Onomatopoetic 
for a noise of flapping and flicking 

Flier (or Flyer). 1. A horse or boat 
of great speed ; also (American rail- 
way) a fast train ; hence, by implica- 
tion, anything of excellence. 2. A 
shot in the air. 3. A small hand- 
bill, Dodger (q.v.). To take a flier, 
to make a venture ; to invest against 

Flies (rhyming). Lies. Hence, 
nonsense, trickery, deceit. There are 
no flies on me (or him), I am dealing 
honestly with you ; He is genuine, 
and is not humbugging. In America, 
the expression is used of (1) a man of 
quick parts, a man who knows a 
thing without its being kicked into 
him by a mule ; and (2) a person of 
superior breeding or descent. 

Fligger (also Flicker). To grin 

Film. See Flimsy. 

Flim-flam. An idle story, sham, 
Robin Hood tale (q.v.) (1589). As 
adj., idle, worthless (1589). 

Flimp. To hustle or rob. To put 
on the flimp, to rob on the highway. 
Flimping, stealing from the person. 

Flimsy (or Flim). 1. A bank-note. 
Soft-flimsy, a note drawn on the 
' Bank of Elegance,' or ' The Bank of 
Engraving.' 2. News of all kinds, 
Points (q.v. ). First used at Lloyd's. 

Flinders. Pieces infinitesimally 

Fling. 1. A fit of temper. 2. A 
jeer, jibe, personal allusion or attack 

( 1592). As verb, (1) to cheat, get the 
best of, Do (q.v.) or diddle (Grose). 
(2) To dance. To fling out, to depart 
in a hurry, and, especially, in a temper. 
In a fling, in a spasm of temper. To 
have one's fling, to enjoy full liberty of 
action or conduct (1624). To fling 
dirt : see Dirt. 

Flinger. A dancer. 
Fling-dust. A street-walker. 
Flint. A man working for a 
Union or fair house ; non- Union- 
ists are Dung (q.v.). Both terms 
occur in Foote's burlesque, The 
Tailors : a Tragedy for Warm Weather, 
and they received a fresh lease of 
popularity during the tailors' strike 
of 1832. Old Flint, a miser : one 
who would skin a flint, i.e. stoop 
to any meanness for a trifle. To 
fix one's flint : see Fix. To flint in, 
to act with energy ; stand on no cere- 
mony, pitch into, tackle. A verb of 
action well-nigh as common as Fix 

Flip. 1. Hot beer, brandy, and 
sugar ; also, says Grose, called Sir 
Cloudesley after Sir Cloudesley Shovel. 
2. A bribe or douceur. 3. A light blow, 
or snatch. As verb, to shoot. To 
flip up, to spin a coin. 

Flip - flap. 1. A flighty creature 
(1702). 2. A step-dance; a Cellar- 
flap (q.v.). Also (acrobats'); a kind 
of somersault, in which the performer 
throws himself over on his hands and 
feet alternately (1727). 3. A kind of 
tea-cake. 4. The arm : see Bender. 

Flipper. 1. The hand. Tip ux 
your flipper, give me your hand : see 
Daddle. 2. See Flapper. 3. Part of 
a scene, hinged and painted on both 
sides, used in trick changes. 
Flirtatious. Flighty. 
Flirt-gill (Flirtgillian, or Gill-flirt). 
A wanton, a chopping - girl (q.v.) ; 
specifically a strumpet (1595). 

Flirtina Cop - all. A wanton, 
young or old ; a men's woman (q.v.). 

Float. The footlights : before the 
invention of gas they were oil-pans 
with floating wicks. // that's the way 
the stick floats : see Stick. 

Floater. 1. An Exchequer bill ; ap- 
plied also to other unfunded stock. 2. 
A suet dumpling in soup. 3. A vend- 
ible voter. 4. A candidate represent- 
ing several counties, and therefore 
not considered directly responsible to 
any one of them. 




' Floating - academy. The hulks ; 
also Campbell's academy (q.v.), and 
Floating hell (q.v.). 

Floating - batteries. 1. Broken 
bread in tea ; also Slingers (q.v.). 2. 
The Confederate bread rations during 
the Secession. ^ 

Floating-coffin. A rotten ship. 1 ^ 

Floating -hell (or Hell afloat). 
A ship commanded by (1) a brutal 
savage, or (2) a ruthless disciplinarian. 

Flock. A clergyman's congrega- 
tion. Also any body of people with a 
common haunt or interest : e.g. a 
family of children, a company of 
soldiers, a school of girls or boys, 
a cabful of molls, and such like. To 
fire into the wrong flock, to blunder : 
see To bark up the wrong tree. 

Flock-of-Sheep. 1. A hand 
at dominoes set out on the table. 2. 
White-crested dancing waves on the 
sea, White horses (q.v.). 

Flog. A whip : a contraction of 
Flogger (q.v.). To flog (now recog- 
nised), is cited by B. E. (1690), and 
Orose. To be flogged at the tumbler, to 
be whipped at the cart's tail : see 
Tumbler. To flog the dead horse, 1. To 
work up an interest in a bygone sub- 
ject, try against heart, do with no 
will nor liking for the job. [Bright 
said that Earl Russell's Reform Bill 
was a dead horse (q.v.), and every 
attempt to create enthusiasm in its 
favour was flogging the dead horse.] 
2. To work off an advance of wages. 
To flog a willing horse, to urge on one 
who is already putting forth his best 

Flogger. 1. A whip: Fr.,6ouw. 2. 
A mop (i.e. a bunch of slips of cloth on 
a handle) used in the painting room to 
whisk the charcoal dust from a sketch. 

Flogging. Careful, penurious. 

Flogging-cove. 1. An official 
who administers the Cat (q.v.). 2. 
See Flogging cully. 

Flogging-cully. A man addicted 
to flagellation, a Whipster (q.v.). 

Flogging-stake. A whipping post. 

Flogster. One addicted to flog- 
ging. Specifically (naval) a nick- 
name applied to the Duke of Clarence 
(afterwards William IV.). 

Floor. 1. To knock down. Hence 
to vanquish in argument, make an 
end of, defeat, confound (Grose). To 
floor the odds, said of a low-priced 
horse that pulls off the event in face of 

the betting. 2. To finish, get outside 
of : e.g. I floored three half- pint* 
and a nip before breakfast 3. To 
pluck. Plough (q.v.). To floor a 
paper (lesson, examination, examiner), 
to answer every question, master, 
prove oneself superior to the occasion. 
To floor one's ticks, to surpass one- 
self. Cut-around (q.v.). To have 
(hold, or take) the floor, to rise to ad- 
dress a public meeting ; in Ireland, to 
stand up to dance ; and, in America, 
to be in possession of the House. 

Floored. 1. Vanquished, brought 
under, ruined. English synonyms: 
basketed, bitched, bitched-up, bowled 
out, broken up, buggered up, busted, 
caved in, choked-off, cornered, cooked, 
coopered up, dead-beat, done brown, 
done for, done on toast, doubled up, 
flattened out, fluffed, flummoxed, 
frummagemmed, gapped, gone through 
St. Peter's needle, done under, grav- 
elled, gruelled, hoofed out, in the last 
of pea-time, or last run of shad, 
jacked - up, knocked out of time, 
knocked silly, looed, mucked - out, 
petered out, pocketed, potted, put in 
his little bed, queered in his pitch, 
rantanned, sat upon, sewn up, shut- 
up, smashed to smithereens, snashed, 
snuffed out, spread-eagled, struck of 
a heap, stumped, tied up, timbered, 
treed, trumped, up a tree. 2. Drunk ; 
in Shakespearean ' put down ' ; as Sir 
Andrew Aguecheek, ' Never in your 
life, I think, unless you see canary 
put me down' ("Twelfth Night," i. 
iii.): see Screwed. 3. Hung low at an 
exhibition ; in contradistinction to 
Skyed (q.v.), and On the line (q.v.). 

Floorer. 1. An auctioneer (q.v.), 
or knock-down blow. Hence, sudden 
or unpleasant news, a decisive argu- 
ment, an unanswerable retort, a 
decisive check: Sp., peso (1819). 2. 
A question or a paper too hard to 
master. 3. A ball that brings down 
all the pins. 4. A thief who trips his 
man, and robs in picking him up ; a 
Ramper (q.v.). 

Flooring. Knocking down : hence, 
to vanquish in all senses. 

Floor -walker. A shop-walker. 

Flop. 1. A Bite (q.v.), a successful 
dodge (1856). 2. A sudden fall or 
flop down. 3. A collapse cr break- 
down. 4. (For Flap or Flip). A 
light blow (1662). As verb, (1) to 
fall, or flap down suddenly : FT., 




prendre un billet de parterre (1742). 
(2) To knock down. As adj., An 
onomatopoeia expressive of the noise 
of a sudden and sounding fall. Often 
used expletively, as Slap (q.v.) is, and 
the American, Right (q.v.) (1726). 
To flop over, to turn heavily ; hence 
(in America), to make a sudden 
change of sides, association, or 
allegiance. Flop up, a day's tramp, 
as opposed to a Sot-down, half a 
day's travel. Flop up time, Bedtime. 
Flop, too, is something of a vocable of 
all-work. Thus, to flop round, to loaf, 
to dangle ; to do a flop (colloquial), to 
sit, or to fall, down: to flop out, to 
leave the water noisily and awk- 
wardly ; a flop in the gills, & smack in 
the mouth. 

Florence. A wench that has been 
touzed and ruffled (B. E.). 

Floster. A mixed drink : sherry, 
noyau, peach - leaves, lemon, sugar, 
ice, and soda-water. 

Flouch. To fall (or go) flouch (or 
floush), to come to pieces, sag sud- 
denly on the removal of a restraining 
influence, as a pair of stays. 

Flounce. To move with violence, 
and (generally) in anger. Said of 
women, for whom such motion is, or 
rather was, inseparable from a great 
flourishing of flounces. 

Flounder. 1. A drowned corpse : 
see Stiff. 2. To sell, and afterwards 
re-purchase a stock, or vice-versd. 

Flounder-and-Dab. A cab. 

Flour. Money : generic : see 

Flourish. To be in luck : e.g. I 
flourish, I am well off ; Do you flourish, 
or Are you flourishing ? Have you got 
any money ? Flourishing, a retort to 
the inquiry, How are you ? The 
equivalent of Pretty well, thank 
you ! 

Flowery. Lodging, entertain- 
ment ; Square the omee for the 
flowery, pay the landlord for the 
lodging. [Lingua Franca,'} 

Flowery Language. Blasphemous 
and obscene speech. 

Flowing - hope. A forlorn hope. 

Flub-dub-and-Guff. Rhetorical 
embellishment ; High-falutin' (q.v.). 

Flue. 1. The Recorder of London 
or any large town. 2. The filth, part 
fluff, part hair, part dust, which 
collects under ill-kept beds, and at 
the junctures of sofas and chairs : 

see Beggar's Velvet. 3. A contrac- 
tion of influenza. As verb, to put 
in pawn. In (or up) the flue, pawned. 
Up the flue (or spout), dead ; collapsed, 
mentally or physically. To be up 
one's flue, to be awkward for one. 
That's up your flue, that's a facer, or 
that's up against you. 

Flue-Faker (or Scraper). A 
chimney-sweep : see Clergyman. 

Fluff (or Fluffings). 1. Short 
change given by booking-clerks. The 
practice is known as Fluffing : see 
Menavelings : Fr., des fruges ( = more or 
less unlawful profits of any sort). As 
verb, to give short change. 2. Lines 
half learned and imperfectly deli vered. 
Hence, To do a fluff, to forget one's 
part : also as verb, to disconcert, to 
floor (q.v.). Fluff it ! an interjection 
of disapproval : Be off ! Take it 
away ! 

F 1 u ff e r. 1. A drunkard : see 
Lushington. 2. A player ' rocky on 
his lines ' ; i.e. given to forgetting his 
part. 3. A term of contempt. 

Fluffiness. 1. Drunkenness : see 
Fluffy and Fluffer. 2. The trick, or 
habit, of forgetting words. 

Fluffy. Unsteady, of uncertain 

Fluke. In billiards, an accidental 
winning hazard ; in all games a result 
not played for; a Crow (q.v.). In 
yachting, an effect of chance ; a result 
in which seamanship has had no part. 
Hence, a stroke of luck. As verb, (1) 
to effect by accident. (2) To shirk. 
To cut flukes out, to mutiny, turn 
sulky and disobedient. To turn 
flukes, to go to bed ; i.e. to Bunk (q.v.), 
or turn in. 

Fluky (or Flukey). Of the 
nature of a Fluke (q.v.) ; i.e. achieved 
more by good luck than good guid- 
ance. Hence Flukiness, abounding in 

Flummadiddle. 1. Nonsense, 
Flummery (q.v.). 2. A sea-dainty. 

Flummergasted. Astonished, con- 
founded. A variant of Flabber- 
gasted (q.v.). 

Flummery. 1. Nonsense, Gammon 
(q.v.), flattery (Grose). 2. A kind of 
bread pudding (Nordhoff). 3. Oat- 
meal and water boiled to a jelly 

Flummox (Flummocks, or Flum- 
mux). 1. To perplex, dodge, abash, 
silence, victimize, Best (q.v.), dis- 



appoint. AlsoConflummox. To flum- 
mox (or conflummox) by the lip, to out- 
slang (q.v.), talk down; to flummox 
the coppers, to dodge the police ; to 
flummox the old Dutch, to cheat one's 
wife, etc. 2. To confuse, Queer (q.v.). 
3. Used in the passive sense, to abandon 
a purpose, give in, die. As subs., a 
bad recitation, failure. Flummoxed, 
spoilt, ruined, drunk, Sent down 
(q.v.), Boshed (q.v.), defeated, dis- 
appointed, silenced, Floored (q.v.). 

Flummocky. Out of place, in bad 

Flummut. A month in prison : see 

Flump. To fall, put, or be set down 
with violence or a thumping noise: 
onomatopoeic. Also to come down 
with a flump (1840). 

Flunk. 1. An idler, Loafer (q.v.), 
Lawrence (q.v.). 2. A failure, especi- 
ally (at college) in recitations ; a 
backing out of undertakings : also 
Flunk-out. As verb, to retire through 
fear, fail (as in a lesson), cause to fail. 
Flunkey. 1. A ship's steward. 2. 
An ignorant dabbler in stock, inexperi- 
enced jobber. 3. One that makes a 
complete failure in a recitation ; one 
who Flunks (q.v.). 4. A man-serv- 
ant, especially one in livery. Hence, 
by implication, a parasite or Toady 
(q.v.): FT., larbin (1848). Whence, 
Flunkeyism, blind worship of rank, 
birth, or riches : Fr.. larbinerie. 

Flurry. To flurry one's milk, 
to be worried, angry, or upset : see To 
fret one's kidneys (q.v.) ; To tear one's 
shirt (or one's hair), (q.v.). 

Flunyment. Agitation, bustle, con- 
fusion, nervous excitement. 

Flush. A hand of one suit. As adj., 
(1) with plenty of money, the reverse 
of Hard-up (q.v.) ; Warm (q.v.). Also 
abounding in anything : e.g. Flush of 
his patter, full of his talk ; flush of 
the lotion, liberal with the drink ; 
flush of his notions, prodigal of ideas ; 
flush of her charms, lavish of her person ; 
and so forth (1603). (2) Intoxicated 
(i.e. full to the brim) ; also Flushed : 
see Screwed. (3) Level: e.g. Flush 
with the top, with the water, with the 
road, with the boat's edge, etc. As 
verb, ( 1 ) to whip. English synonyms : 
to bludgeon, to bumbaste, to breech 
(Cotgrave), to brush, to club, to curry, 
to dress with an oaken towel, to drub, 
to dry-beat, to dry-bob, to drum, to 

fib, to flap, to flick, to flop, to jerk, to 
give one ballast, to hide, to lamin, to 
larrup, to paste, to punch, to rub 
down, to swinge, to swish, to switch, 
to trounce, to thump, to tund (Win- 
chester), to wallop. (2) To clean by 
filling full, and emptying, of water : 
e.g. to flush a sewer ; to wash, swill, or 
sluice away. Also, to fill with water : 
e.g. to flush a lock. (3) To start or 
raise a bird from covert : e.g. to flush 
a snipe, or a covey of partridges. To 
come flush on one, to come suddenly 
and unexpectedly (Marvell) ; to over- 
whelm (as by a sudden rush of water). 
Flushed on the horse, privately whip- 
ped in gaol. 

Flush-hit. A clean blow, a hit 
full on the mark and straight from 
the shoulder. As adj., full, straight, 
Right on (q.v.). 

Fluster. To excite, confuse, abash, 
Flummox (q.v.), upset, or be upset, 
with drink (1602). 

Flustered (or Flustrated). 
Excited by drink, circumstances, 
another person's impudence, etc.; 
also mildly drunk : cf. Flusticatod 
and see Screwed (1686). 

Flusticated (or Flustrated). Con- 
fused, in a state of heat or excite- 
ment : cf. Flustered (1712). 

Flustration. Heat, excitement, 
bustle, confusion, Flurry (q.v.) (1771). 
Flute. The recorder of a corpora- 
tion (1598). 

Flutter. 1. An attempt or Shy (q.v. ) 
at anything, a venture in earnest, a 
spree, a state of expectancy (as in 
betting) : hence gambling. 2. The 
act of spinning a coin. As verb, ( 1 ) to 
spin a coin (for drinks) ; also to gamble. 
(2) To go in for a bout of pleasure. 
To flutter the ribbons, to drive. Flutter, 
if not a word of all-work, is a word 
with plenty to do. Thus, to have (or 
do) a flutter, to have a look in (q.v.), to 
go on the spree ; to be on the flutter, to 
be on the spree ; to flutter a Judy, to 
pursue a girl ; to flutter a brown, to spin 
a coin ; to flutter (or fret) one's kidneys, 
to agitate, to exasperate ; to flutter a 
skirt, to walk the streets ; and so forth.] 
Flux. 1. To cheat, cozen, over- 
reach. 2. To salivate (Grose). 

Fly. A familiar ; hence, by im- 
plication, a parasite or Sucker (q.v.). 
[In the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries it was held that familiar 
spirits, in the guise of flies, lice, fleas, 




etc., attended witches, who for a 
price professed to dispose of the 
Power for evil thus imparted.] 2. A 
printer's devil ; specifically a boy who 
lifted the printed sheets from the 
press. [Now the vibrating frame 
used for the same purpose.] (1688). 
3. A customer. 4. The act of spinning 
a coin : cf. Flutter. 5. A public 
waggon : afterwards (colloquial) a four- 
wheel hackney coach : Fr., mouche 
(fly)=a public boat on the Seine. 6. 
A policeman. As adj., (1) knowing, 
Artful (q.v.), up to every move, cute. 
Also fly to, a-fly, fly to the game, and 
fly to what's what : cf. Awake, and, 
see Knowing. (2) Dextrous. As verb, 
( 1 ) To toss, raise ; to fly the mags, to toss 
up halfpence. (2) To give way : as, 
china flies in the baking. To fly around, 
to bestir oneself, make haste. Also to 
fly around and tear one's shirt. To fly 
the flag, to walk the streets. See also 
Flag. To fly high (or rather high), (1) 
to get, or be drunk : see Screwed. (2) 
To keep the best company, maintain 
the best appearances, and affect the 
best aims : i.e. to be a High-flier 
( q. v. ). Also, to venture for the biggest 
stakes in the biggest way. To fly 
low, to make as little of oneself as 
possible ; to sing small (q.v.) ; and 
(among thieves) to keep out of the 
way when Wanted (q.v.). To fly off 
the handle, to lose temper, fail of a 
promise, jilt, die ; also to slip off the 
Handle (q.v.); to disappoint in any 
way. [In pioneer life for an axe to 
part company with its handle is a 
serious trial to temper and patience.] 
To fly out, to get angry, scold (1612). 
To make the fur (or feathers) fly, to 
attack effectively, make a disturbance, 
quarrel noisily like two torn cats on the 
tiles, who are said (in American) to pull 
fur, or to pull wool. To take on the 
fly, to beg in the streets ; a specific 
usage of adverbial sense. To fly a 
kite, to raise money by means of 
accommodation bills, raise the Wind 
(q.v.). (3) To go out by the window. 
(4) To evacuate from a window. (5) 
To attempt, set one's cap at. To fly 
the blue pigeon, to steal lead from 
roofs : see Blue-pigeon. Fr., faire 
la mastar au gras-double (or la faire 
au mastar) (Grose). To let fly, to 
hit out : from cock-fighting. Not a 
feather to fly with, penniless, ruined, 
Dead-broke (q.v.). To break a fly 

on a wheel, to make a mountain of a 
molehill : cf. To crack a nut with a 
Nasmyth hammer, to lavish force or 
energy. The fly on the wheel, one 
who fancies himself of mighty im- 
portance. [From the fable.] / don't 
rise to that fly, I don't believe you ; 
you won't catch me with such bait as 
that. Off the fly, on the quiet, laid 
up in dock, doing nothing. On the fly, 
(1) walking the streets, out for a Lark 
(q.v.), Off work (q.v.), out on the 
spree (q.v.). (2) In motion : e.g. I 
got in one on the fly, I landed a blow 
while I was running. 

Fly-blow. A bastard ; cf. Bye- 

Fly-blown. 1. Intoxicated : see 
Screwed. 2. Cleaned-out, without a 
rap, Hard-up. 3. Used, done-up, 
Washed-out (q.v.). 4. Deflowered, 
known for a wanton, suspected of 

Fly - by - night. 1. A sedan chair 
on wheels ; a usage of the Regency 
days. 2. A defaulting debtor, one 
who shoots the moon (q.v.). 3. A 
prostitute. 4. A noctambulist for 
business or for pleasure : i.e. a 
burglar or a common spreester (q.v.). 
5. A term of opprobrium, spec, 'an 
old woman, signifying that she was a 
witch, and alluding to the nocturnal 
excursions attributed to witches who 
were supposed to fly abroad to their 
meetings mounted on brooms ' (Grose). 

Fly - catcher. An open-mouthed 
ignoramus, a Gape-seed (q.v.) : Fr., 

Flycop. A sharp officer ; one well 
broken in to the tricks of trade. 

Fly-disperser Soup. Oxtail. 

Flyer. 1. See Flier in all senses. 
2. A shoe : see Trotter-case. 3. (Win- 
chester). A half-volley at football, 
A made-flyer is when the bound of 
the ball is gained from a previous 
kick, by the same side, against canvas 
or any other obstacle, or is dropped, 
as in a drop - kick. This is now 
confused with a kick-up. 

Fly-flapped. Whipped in the stocks, 
or at the cart's tail (Grose). 

Fly - flapper. A heavy bludgeon. 

Fly-flat. A would-be connoisseur 
and authority. 

Flying. To look a# if the Devil 
had spued on him (or her) flying, said 
in derision of one odd -looking, filthy, 
or deformed. 




Flying-angel. See Angel. 

Flying Bricklayers. The mounted 
Royal Engineers. 

Flying - camps. Couples or gangs 
of beggars. 

Flying - caper. An escape from 
prison, Leg-bail (q.v.). 

Flying-cat See Cat 

Flying-country. A country where 
the Going (q.v.) is fast and good. 

Flying - cove. An impostor who 
gets, or tries to get, money from 
persons who hare been robbed by 
pretending to give such information 
as will lead to recovery. Formerly, 
Flying-porter (Grose). 

Flying-dustman. See Stiff-'un. 

Flying - Dutchman. The London 
and Exeter express (G.W.R.). See 
also Flying Scotsman and Wild 

Flying horse (or mare). The 
throw by which an opponent is sent 
over the head. Introduced, says 
Bee, by Parkins (1754). 

Flying - jigger (or gygger). A 
turnpike gate. 

Flying - man. A skirmisher good 
at taking, and running with, the ball. 

Flying - mare. See Flying-horse. 

Flying-pasty. Excrement 
wrapped in paper and thrown over a 
neighbour's wall (Grose). 

Flying-porter. See Flying-cove. 

Flying-stationer. A hawker 
of street ballads, Paperworker (q.v.), 
or Running patterer (q.v.). ' Printed 
for the Flying-stationer ' is the im- 
primatur on hundreds of broadsheets 
from the last century onwards (Grose). 

Fly my. Knowing, Fast (q.v.), 
roguish, sprightly. 

Fly-my-kite (rhyming). A light 

Flymy-mess. To be in a fiymy-mess, 
to be hungry and have nothing to eat. 

Fly - slicer. A cavalry-man : see 
Mudcrusher. French lancers are allum- 
curs de gaz, their weapons being 
likened to a lamplighter's rod. 

Fly-the-garter. Leap frog. 

Fly-trap. The mouth : see 

Foaled. Thrown from a horse : 
Fr., faire parache. 

Fob (or Fub). 1. A cheat, trick, 
swindle. To come the fob, to impose 
upon, swindle: cf. Come over (1690). 
2. A breeches pocket, watch pocket 
(1678). 3. A watch-chain or ribbon, 
with buckle and seals, worn hanging 

from the fob. As verb, (1) to rob, 
cheat pocket : also to fob off (1700). 
(2) To deceive, trifle with, disappoint, 
put off dishonestly or unfairly (1598). 
To gut a fob, to pick pockets. 

F o b u s. An opprobrious epithet 

Fodder. Paper for the closet, 
Bum-fodder (q.v.). 

F ce t u s. To tap the foetus, to 
procure abortion. 

Fog. Smoke (Grose). In a fog, 
in a condition of perplexity, doubt, 
difficulty, or mystification : as,| I'm 
quite in a fog as to what you mean. 
As verb, ( 1 ) to smoke. (2) To mystify, 
perplex, obscure. 

Fogey (Fogy, Fogay, or Foggi). 
An invalid or garrison soldier or sailor. 
Whence the present colloquial usages : 
( 1 ) a person advanced in life, and (2) 
an old-fashioned or eccentric person ; 
generally Old fogey. So also Fogey- 
ish, old-fashioned, eccentric. Fogey- 
dom, the state of fogeyishness ; and 
fogeyism, a characteristic of fogeydom. 

F o g g a g e. Fodder, especially 
green-meat (Grose). 

Fogged. 1. Drunk : see Screwed. 
2. Perplexed, bewildered, at a loss. 

Fogger. 1. A huckster, a cringing, 
whining beggar, a pettifogger. 2. A 
farm-servant whose duty is to feed 
the cattle; i.e. to supply them with 
Foggage (q.v.). 

Foggy. 1. Drunk, clinched, 
Hazy (q.v.) : see Screwed. 2. Dull, 
fatwitted, Thick (q.v.). 

Fogle. A silk handkerchief ; also 
generic. [Cf. Ital., foglia, a pocket 
a purse : Fr., fouittt, a pocket]. A 
cotton handkerchief is called a clout 
English synonyms : bandanna, belcher, 
billy, clout, conch-clout fam-cloth, 
flag, kent-rag, madam, muckender, 
mucketer (Florio) ; nose-wipe, pen- 
wiper, rag, sneezer, snot-tmger or 
snot-rag, stock, wipe : see Billy. 

Fogle - hunter. A thief whose 
speciality is Fogies (q.v.) : Fr., blavin- 
iste or chiffonier : see Stookhauler 

Fpgle-hunting (or drawing). 
Stealing pocket-handkerchiefs ; i.e. 
prigging of wipes. 

Fogram (or Fogrum). A fussy 
old man : see Fogey. As adj., fogey- 
ish, stupid (1777). Hence Fogram- 
ity, (1) Fogeyism (q.v.), and (2) the 
state of Fogeyishness. 




Fogue. Fierce, fiery. 

Fogus. Tobacco (1671). 

Foiler. A thief (1669). 

Foist (Foyst, or Fyst). 1. A cheat, 
swindler, sharper (1592). 2. A trick, 
swindle, imposture : also Foyster and 
Foister (1605). As verb, to trick, 
swindle, pick pockets (1607). 

Foister (or Foyster). A pick- 
pocket, a cheat (1598). 

Follower. A maid-servant's 
sweetheart, a beau : see Jomer. 

Follow-me-lads. Curls or ribands 
hanging over the shoulder: Fr., suivez- 
moi-jeune-homme : also Followers. 

Follow-on. A team eighty runs 
behind the other in the first innings 
is obliged to follow on ; i.e. to take to 
the wickets a second time. A run 
more, and it saves the follow on. 

Follow your nose! A retort on 
asking the way. The full phrase is, 
Follow your nose and you are sure 
to go straight (1620). 

Foo-foo. A person of no account 
an insignificant idiot, a Poop (q.v.). 

Fool. A dish of gooseberries, 
boiled with sugar and milk : also Gull 
(q.v.) (1720). No fool, a phrase 
laudatory. To make a fool of, to 
delude : specifically to cuckold, or to 
seduce under promise of marriage. To 
fool about (or around), to dawdle, trifle 
with, be infatuated with, hang about, 

Fool-finder. A bum-bailiff 

Fool -monger. A person, male 
or female, living by their wits, e.g. 
a Promoter (q.v.), a betting-man, 
a swindler : also Fool - catcher and 
Fool-trap (q.v.). 

Foolometer. A standard, positive 
or neuter, whereby to gauge the 
public taste. 

Fool's Father. The pantaloon or 
Old 'un (q.v.). 

Fool's-wedding. A party of 
women : see Hen party. 

Fool -trap. A Fool-monger. 
F o o n t. A sovereign : see Rhino. 
[Probably a corruption of Ger., Pfund.~\ 
Foot. 1. To acknowledge pay- 
ment ; e.g. To foot a bill. 2. To 
kick, to Hoof (q.v.) : cf. ' Merchant of 
Venice,' i. iii. 'You, that did void your 
rheum upon my beard, And foot me, 
as you spurn a stranger cur.' To foot 
it, to walk, to dance : see Pad the 
Hoof. To foot-up, to sum up the 

total (of a bill); to Tot up (q.v.). 
Hence, to pay, discharge one's obliga- 
tions, Reckon up (q.v.) ; to summarize 
both merits and defects, and strike a 
balance. Footing-up, the reckoning, 
the sum total : Fr., gomberger. To 
put one's best foot (or leg) foremost, to 
use all possible despatch, exert one- 
self to the utmost (1596). To put 
one's foot into anything, ,io make a mess 
of it, get into a scrape. The bishop 
(i.e. the Devil) has put his foot in it 
(Old English proverb) is said of burned 
porridge or over-roasted meat (Orose) : 
Fr., faire une gaffe. To have one foot 
(or leg) in the grave, on one's last legs, 
measured for a funeral sermon : also 
as adj. (1825). To pull foot, to make 
haste : also To take one's foot in one's 
hand, and To make tracks. To take 
Mr. Foot's horse, to walk, Go by 
Shank's mare (q.v.) : see Pad the 
hoof. To know the length of one's 
foot, to be well acquainted with one's 
character (1581). 

Footer (Harrow). 1. Short for 
football. 2. A player of football 
according to Rugby rules. 

Foot-hot. In hot haste, Hot-foot 

Footing. Money paid on entering 
upon new duties, or on being received 
into a workshop or society : as at sea 
when a comrade first goes aloft. 
Formerly Foot-ale : Fr., arroser set 
galons, to christen one's uniform 

Footle. To dawdle, trifle, potter, 
Mess about (q.v.). 

Footlicker. A servant, a lickspittle 

Footlights. To smett the footlights, 
to acquire a taste for theatricals. To 
smett of the footlights, to carry thea- 
trical concerns and phraseology into 
private life, to Talk shop (q.v.). 

Footman's Inn. A poor lodging, 
a jail : Fr., H6tel de la modestie : the 
Poor Man's Arms (1608). 

Footman' s-maund. An artificial 
sore, as from a horse's bite or kick : 
the Fox's bite of schoolboys. Also 
Scaldrum dodge, or Maund (q.v.). 

Foot-riding. Walking and 
wheeling one's machine instead of 
riding it. 

Foot-scamp. A footpad (Parker). 

Footstool. See Angel's footstool. 

Foot-wobbler. An infantry-man : 
see Mudcrusher. 



F o o t y. Contemptible, worth- 
less : Fr., joutu (Grose). 

Foozle. 1. A boggle, a miss. 2. 
A bore, a fogey ; and (in America) a 
fool, a green 'un : see Buffie. As verb, 
to miss, boggle, Muff (q.v.). Foozled 
(or Foozley), blurred in appearance 
and effect, fuzzy, Muffed (q.v. ). Often 
said of badly painted pictures, or parts 
of pictures. 

Fop-doodle. An insignificant man, 
a fool (1689). 

Fop's Alley. The gangway run- 
ning parallel to the footlights, between 
the last row of the stalls and the 
first row of the pit in Her Majesty's 
Theatre, and in its palmiest days it 
was always graced by the presence of a 
subaltern of the Guards in full uniform, 
daintily swinging his bearskin. 

Forakers (Winchester Col- 
lege). The water-closet : see Mrs. 
Jones. [Formerly spelt foricu* and 
probably a corruption of foricaa, an 
English plural of the Latin /on'ca.] 

Force (The). The police. To 
force the voucher, it is customary for 
sporting tricksters to advertise selec- 
tions and enclose vouchers (similar to 
those sent out by respectable com- 
mission agents) for double or treble 
the current odds. The correspondent 
is informed that, in consequence of 
early investments, the extra odds can 
be laid ; a remittance is requested ; 
the voucher is forced ; and then the 
firm dries up, and changes its name 
and address. 

Forcemeat - ball. Something en- 
dured from compulsion : as ( 1) a rape : 
(2) going to prison ; (3) transporta- 
tion ; (4) an affiliation order ; (5) ab- 
stention (from drink, pleasure, etc.) 
through impecuniosity. 

Forceps. The hands : see 

Fore-and-after. Anybody or any- 
thing good all round. 

Fore - buttocks. The paps : see 

Fore-coach-wheel. A half- 
crown : see Caroon. 

Forefoot. The hand (1598). 

Foreman of the jury. A babbler ; 
one with the Gift of the gab (q.v.) 

Fore-stall. In garotting, a look- 
out in front of the operator, or Ugly- 
man (q.v.) ; the watch behind is the 
Back-stall (q.v.) : see Stale. 

Fork. 1. A pickpocket: Fr., 
Avoir let main* crochuu, to be a light- 
fingered or lime - fingered filcher ; 
every finger of his hand as good as 
a lime-twig (Cotgrave). 2. A finger. 
The fork*, the fore and middle fingers ; 
cf. (proverbial) Fingers were made 
before forks. English synonyms : 
claws, fish-hooks (Oro*e), daddies, 
(also the hands), divers, feelers, fives, 
flappers, grapplers, grappling irons, 
gropers, hooks, nail-bearers, pickers 
and stealers (Shakespeare), corn-steal - 
era, Ten Commandments, ticklers, 
pinkies, muck - forks. 3. The hands. 

4. A gibbet ; in the plural, the gallows. 

5. A spendthrift. 6. The Crutch (q.v. ), 
or Twist (q.v.) : Fr., Fourcheure, that 
part of the bodie from whence the 
thighs depart (Cotgrave). As verb, 
to steal ; specifically to pick a 
pocket by inserting the middle and 
forefinger : also To put one's forks 
down : Fr., vol rt la fourchette. To 
fork out (or over sometimes to fork), 
to hand over, pay, to shell out (q.v.). 
To fork on, to appropriate : cf. Freeze 
on to. To pitch the fork, to tell a piti- 
ful tale. To eat vinegar with a fork, a 
person either over -shrewd or over- 
snappish is said to have eaten vinegar 
with a fork : Fr., avoir mange de 

F o r k e r. A dockyard thief or 
Fence (q.v.). 

Forking. 1. Thieving. 2. 
Hurrying and Scamping (q.v.). 

Forkless. Clumsy, unworkman- 
like, as without Forks (q.v.) (1821). 

Foreloper. A teamster guide. 

Forlorn-Hope. A last stake (Oro*e). 

Form. 1. Condition, training, 
fitness for a contest. In (or out of) 
form, in or out of condition, i.e. fit or 
unfit for work. Better (or top) form, 
etc. (in comparison) : cf. Colour. 2. 
Behaviour (with a moral significance : 
as good form, bad form, agreeable to 
good manners, breeding, principles, 
taste, etc., or the opposite). This 
usage, popularised in racing circles, is 
good literary English, though the 
word is commonly printed in inverted 
commas (' ') : Shakespeare (' Two 
Gentlemen of Verona,' 4), says, ' Can 
no way change you to a milder form,' 
i.e. manner of behaviour. 3. Habit, 
Game (q.v.) : e.g. That's my form, 
That's what Fm in the way of doing ; 
or That's the sort of man I am. 



Four Seams. 

Forney. A ring ; a variant of 
Fawney (q.v.). 

Fortune-biter. A sharper (1719). 

Fortune - teller. A magistrate 

Forty. To talk forty (more com- 
monly nineteen) to the dozen, to chatter 
incessantly, gabble. To walk off 
forty to the dozen, to decamp in quick 
time. Roaring forties, the Atlantic 
between the fortieth and fiftieth 
degrees of latitude ; also applied to the 
same region in southern latitudes. 

Forty -faced. An arrant deceiver : 
e.g. a forty-faced liar, a forty-faced 
flirt, and so forth. 

Forty-five. A revolver : see 
Meat in the pot. 

Forty-foot (or Forty-guts). A fat, 
dumpy man, or woman : in contempt. 
English synonyms : All arse and no 
body, arse-and-corporation, all-belly 
(Cotgrave) ; all guts (idem), bacon- 
belly, barrel-belly,'belly-god, bladder- 
figured, bosse-belly, Bosse of Billings- 
gate (Florio, a fat woman), chuff 
(Shakespeare), Christmas beef, double- 
guts, double-tripe, fat-cock, fat-guts 
(Shakespeare and Cotgrave), fatico, 
fattymus or fattyma, fubsy, fat Jack 
of the bonehouse, fat-lips, flander- 
kin, fustiluggs (Burton), fussock, gor- 
belly, grampus, gotch-guts, grand-guts 
(Florio), gulche (Florio), gullyguts, 
gundigutts, guts, guts-and-stomach, 
guts-and-garbage, guts-to-sell, hoddy- 
doddy, dumpty-dumpty, hogshead, 
hopper-arse, Jack Weight, loppers, 
lummox, paunch, pod, porpoise, pot- 
guts, princod, pudding-belly, puff- 
guts, ribs, slush-bucket, sow (a fat 
woman), spud, squab, studgy-guts, 
tallow-guts, tallow-merchant, thick- 
in - the - middle, tripes, tripes and 
trullibubs, tubs, waist, water-butt, 
walking-ninepin, whopper. 

Forty-jawed. Excessively 

Forty -lunged. Stentorian ; given 
to shouting ; Leather-lunged (q.v.). 

Forty-rod (or Forty-rod Light- 
ning). Whisky, specifically, spirit 
so fiery that it is calculated to kill 
at Forty Rods' distance, i.e. on 
Bight: cf. Rotgut. Cf. Florio (1598), 
Catoblepa, ' a serpent in India so 
venomous that with his looke he kils 
a man a mile off.'] 

Forty - twa. A common jakes, 
or Bogshop (q.v.) : in Edinburgh, So 

called from its accommodating that 
number of persons at once (Hotten). 
[Long a thing of the past.] 

Forty - winks. A short sleep or 
nap : see Dog's sleep. 

Fossed. Thrown. 

Fossick. To work an abandoned 
claim, or to wash old dirt ; hence to 
search persistently. [Halliwell, to 
take trouble, but cf. fosse, a ditch 
or excavation.] Also Fossicking, a 
living got as aforesaid ; Fossicker, a 
man that works abandoned claims ; 
Fossicking about (American), Shinning 
around, or in England, Ferreting (q.v.). 

Fou (or Fow). Drunk ; variants are 
Bitch - fou, greetin' - fou, piper-fou, 
roaring-fou, fou as barty (Burns), 
pissing-fou, and so forth : see Screwed. 
Also (Scots), full of food or drink. 

Foul. A running into or down. 
As verb, to run against, run down ; 
also to come (or fall) foul of. [Foul, 
adj. and verb, is used in two senses : 
(1), dirty, as a foul word, a foul shrew 
(Dickens), to foul the bed, etc. ; and (2) 
unfair, as a foul (i.e. a felon) stroke, a 
foul blow, and so forth.] To fold a 
plate with, to dine or sup with (Grose). 

Foulcher. A purse. 

Foul-mouthed. Obscene or 
blasphemous in speech. 

Found. Found in a parsley-bed : 
see Parsley-bed and Gooseberry-bush. 

Four - and - nine (or Four - and 
ninepenny). A hat. [So - called 
from the price at which an enterpris- 
ing Bread Street hatter sold his hats, 
circa 1844, at which date London was 
hideous with posters displaying a 
large black hat and ' 4s. and 9d.' in 
white letters.] 

Four -bones. The knees. 

Four - eyes. A person in spec- 
tacles : ' a chap that can't believe his 
own eyes.' 

Four - holed Middlings (Win- 
chester College). Ordinary walking 
shoes : cf. Beeswaxers : obsolete. 

Four Kings. The history (or book) 
of the four kings, a pack of cards ; 
otherwise, A child's best guide to the 
gallows, or The Devil's picture books : 
Fr., livre des quatre rois. 

Four - legged burglar - alarm. A 
watch dog. 

Four - poster. A four-post bed- 

Four Seams and a Bit of Soap. 
A pair of trousers : see Kicks. 




Four (or Three) Sheets in the 
Wind. Drunk ; cf. Half seas over : 
see Screwed. 

Fourteen Hundred (Stock 
Exchange). A warning cry that a 
stranger is in the House. The cry 
is said to have had its origin in the fact 
that for a long while the number of 
members never exceeded 1399 ; and 
it was customary to hail every new 
comer as the fourteen hundredth. 
It has, in its primary sense, long since 
lost significance, for there are now 
nearly three thousand members of 
the close corporation which has its 
home in Capet Court. 

Fourteenth Amendment Persua- 
sion. Negroes. [From the number 
of the clause amending the Constitu- 
tion at the abolition of slavery.] 

Fourth (Cambridge University). 
A Rear (q.v.) or jakes. [Origin un- 
certain ; said to have been first used at 
St. John's or Trinity, where the closets 
were situated in the Fourth Court. 
Whatever its derivation, the term is 
now the only one in use at Cambridge, 
and is frequently heard outside the 
University.] The verbal phrase is 
To keep a fourth (see Keep). On his 
fourth, hopelessly drunk : see Screwed. 
Fourth Estate. The body of 
journalists ; the Press. [Literally 
the Fourth Estate of the realm, the 
other three being the Queen, Lords, 
and Commons.] 

Four-wheeler. 1. A steak. 2. A 
four-wheeled cab ; a Growler (q.v.). 

F o u s t y. Stinking [probably de- 
rived from foist, sense 3]. 

Pouter (Foutering). To meddle, 
importune, waste time and tongue ; 
the act of meddling, importunity, 
wasting time and tongue : e.g. Don't 
come foutering here ! From the 
French : the sense of which is intensi- 
fied in a vulgarism of still fuller 

Fox. A sword ; specifically, the 
old English broadsword (1598). As 
verb, 1. to intoxicate. Foxed, drunk ; 
to catch a fox, to be very drunk ; while 
to play the fox (Urquhart), to vomit, 
to shed your liquor, i.e. to get rid of the 
beast (1611). 2. To cheat, trick, 
rob (colloquial at Eton) : see Gammon 
(1631). 3. To watch closely : also to 
fox about. 4. To sham. 6. To play 
truant. 6. To stain, discolour with 
damp ; said of books and engravings. 

Foxed, stained or discoloured. 7. 
To criticise a brother pro's perform- 
ance. 8. To mend a boot by capping 
it. To get a fox to keep one's geese, to 
entrust one's money, or one's circum- 
stances, to the care of sharpers. To 
make a fox paw, to make a mistake or 
a wrong move ; specifically (of women) 
to be seduced. Fr., faux pas. 

Foz's-sleep. A state of feigned yet 
very vigilant indifference to one's 
surroundings. [Foxes were supposed 
to sleep with one eye open.] 

Foxy. 1. Red-haired : cf. Car- 
roty. 2. Cunning, vulpine in char- 
acter and look. Once literary. 
Jonson (1605) calls his arch-foist 
Volpone, the second title of his play 
being The Fox; and Florio (1598) 
defines Volpone as : an old fox, an old 
reinard, an old, crafty, sly, subtle, 
companion, sneaking, larking, wilie 
deceiver. 3. Repaired with new toe- 
caps. 4. A term applied to prints 
and books discoloured by damp. 5. 
Inclined to reddishness (1792). 6. 
Strong-smelling : of a red-haired man 
or woman. 

Foy . A cheat, swindle (1615). 
Foyl-cloy. A pickpocket ; a 
rogue (B. E.). 
Foyst. See Foist 
Foyster. See Foister. 
Fraggle. To rob. 
Fragment (Winchester College). 
A dinner for six (served in College Hall, 
after the ordinary dinner), ordered by 
a Fellow in favour of a particular boy, 
who was at liberty to invite five others 
to join him. [Obs. A fragment was 
supposed to consist of three dishes. 
Winchester Ward-book 1891]. 
Framer. A shawl (1859). 
Frater. A beggar working with 
a false petition (1567). 

Fraud. A failure, anything or 
body disappointing expectation ; e.g. 
an acquaintance, a picture, a book, 
a play, a picture, a bottle of wine. 
Actual dishonesty is not necessarily 

Fraze. See Vessel. 
Freak. A living curiosity : as the 
Siamese Twins, the Two-headed Night- 
ingale. [Short for Freak of nature.] 
Free. Impudent, self-possessed. 
As verb, to steal ; cf. Annex and 
Convey. Free of fumbler't hall, im- 
potent. Free, gratis, for nothing, a 




pleonastic vulgarism. Free of the house, 
intimate ; privileged to come and go 
at will. For the rest, the commonest 
sense of free is one of liberality : e.g. 
Free of his foolishness, full of chaff ; 
Free-handed, lavish in giving ; free- 
hearted, generously disposed ; free of 
his patter, full of talk. 

Free-and-easy. A social gathering 
where smoke, drink, and song is the 
order of the day : generally held at a 
public house. 

Freebooker. A' pirate ' book- 
seller or publisher ; a play on ' free- 

Free fight. A general mellay. 
Freeholder. 1. A prostitute's 
lover or fancyman. 2. A man whose 
wife insists on accompanying him to 
a public house (1696). 

Free-lance. An habitual adulteress. 
Also said of a journalist attached to 
no particular paper. 

Freeman. A married woman's 
lover. Freeman of bucks, a cuckold. 

Freeman' s Quay. To drink (or lush), 
at freeman's quay, to drink at another's 
expense. [Freeman's Quay was a 
celebrated wharf near London Bridge.] 
Freeze. 1. The act or state of 
freezing, a frost. 2. Hard cider (Grose). 
As verb, (1) to long for intensely 
e.g. to freeze to go back, said of the 
home-sick ; to freeze for meat. (2) 
Hence, to appropriate, steal, stick to. 
(3) To adulterate or Balderdash (q.v.) 
wine with Freeze (q.v. sense 2) 
(Grose). To freeze to (or on to), to take 
a strong fancy to, cling to, keep fast 
hold of ; and (of persons) button-hole 
or shadow. To freeze out, to compel 
to withdraw from society by cold and 
contemptuous treatment ; from busi- 
ness by competition or opposition ; 
from the market by depressing prices 
or rates of exchange. 

Freezer. 1. A tailless Eton jacket: 
cf. Bum-perisher. 2. A very cold 
day. By analogy, a chilling look, 
address, or retort. 

French - elixir (cream, lace, or 
article). Brandy. [The custom of 
taking of brandy with tea and coffee 
was originally French. Whence 
French Cream. Laced tea, tea dashed 
with spirits]. English synonyms : ball- 
of-fire, bingo, cold tea, cold nantz, 
red ribbon. 

French fake. The fashion of 
coiling a rope by taking it backwards 

and forwards in parallel bands, so that 
it may run easily. 

French-gout (disease, or 
fever). Sometimes gonorrhoea, but 
more generally and correctly syphilis, 
the Morbus Gallicus of older writers 

French Leave. To take French leave, 
(1) to decamp without notice; (2) to 
do anything without permission ; (3) 
to purloin or steal ; (4) to run away (as 
from an enemy). [Derivation ob- 
scure ; French, probably traceable to 
the contempt engendered during the 
wars with France ; the compliment 
is returned in similar expressions.] 

French-pigeon. A pheasant killed 
by mistake in the partridge season, a 
Moko or Oriental (q.v.). 

French - pig. A venereal bubo ; a 
Blue boar (q.v.), or Winchester goose 

French-prints. Generic for indecent 

French -vice. A euphemism for 
all sexual malpractices. 
Frenchy. A Frenchman. 
Fresh. 1. Said of an under- 
graduate in his first term (1803). 
2. Slightly intoxicated, elevated : see 
Screwed. (Scots, sober). 3. Inex- 
perienced, but conceited and presump- 
tuous ; hence, forward, impudent 
(1596). 4. Fasting ; opposed to eating 
or drinking. Fresh as paint (as a 
rose, as a daisy, etc.), full of health, 
strength, and activity ; Fit (q.v.). 
Fresh on the graft, new to the work. 
Fresh -bit. A beginner. 
Freshen. To freshen one's way, to 
hurry, quicken one's movements. To 
freshen up, to clean, vamp, revive, 

Fresher. An undergraduate in his 
first term. The freshers, that part of 
the Cam which lies between the Mill 
and Byron's Pool. So called because 
it is frequented by Freshmen (q.v.). 

Freshman (or Fresher). A 
University man during his first year. 
In Dublin University he is a junior 
freshman during his first year, and a 
senior freshman the second year. At 
Oxford the title lasts for the first term : 
Ger., Fuchs (1596). As adj., of, or 
pertaining to, a freshman,[or a first year 

Freshmanship. Of the quality or 
state of being a freshman ( 1 605). 


Freshman's Bible. 


Freshman's Bible. The Univer- 
sity Calendar : cf. Post-office Bible. 

Freshman's - church. The 
Pitt Press at Cambridge. [From its 
ecclesiastical architecture.] 

Freshman's - landmark. King's 
College Chapel, Cambridge. [From 
the situation.] 

Freshwater -mariner (or seaman). 
A beggar shamming sailor, a turnpike 
sailor (q.v.) (1567). 

Freshwater-soldier. A raw recruit 
( 1598). 

Fret To fret one's gizzard (guts, 
giblets, kidneys, cream, etc.), to get 
harassed and worried about trifles, 
Tear one's shirt (q.v.). 

Friar. A pale spot in a printed 
sheet : FT., moine (monk). 

Frib. A stick : see Toko (1754). 

Fribble. A trifler, a contempt- 
ible fop. [From the character in 
Carriers Miss in her Teens (1747)]. 

Friday-face. A gloomy, dejected- 
looking man or woman: Fr., figure de 
carfme. [Probably from Friday being, 
ecclesiastically, the banyan day of 
the week.] (1592). Whence, Friday- 
faced, mortified, melancholy, sour- 
featured (Scott). 

Friendly- lead. An entertain- 
ment (as a sing-song) got up to assist 
a companion in Trouble (q.v.), or to 
raise money for the wife and children 
of a ' quodded pal.' 

Friends-in-need. Lace : see 

Frigate. A woman. 

Frightfully. Very. An expletive 
used as are Awfully, Beastly, Bloody, 
etc. (q.v.). 

F r i g - p i g. A finnicking trifler 

Frillery. Feminine under- 
clothing : see Snowy. 

Frills. Swagger, conceit ; also 
accomplishments (as music, languages, 
etc.), and culture. To put on one's 
frills, to exaggerate, chant the poker, 
swagger, put on side (q.v.) ; sing it 
(q.v.): Fr., se gonfler le jabot, and 
faire son lard. 

Print. A pawnbroker : see 

Frisco. Short for San Francisco. 

Frisk. 1. A frolic, outinp. Lark 
(q.v.), mischief generally (1697). 2. 
A dance (1719). As verb (thieves'), 
(1) to search, run the rule over (q.v.). 
Especially applied to the search made, 

after arrest, for evidence of char- 
acter, antecedents, or identity. Hence, 
careful examination of any kind 
(1781). 2. To pick pockets, rob. 
To frisk a cly, to empty a pocket. To 
dance the Paddington frisk, to dance 
on nothing ; i.e. to be hanged : see 
Ladder. [Tyburn Tree was in Pad- 

Frisker. A dancer. 

Frivol (orFrivvle). To act 
frivolously, trifle. [A resuscitation 
of an old word used in another sense, 
viz. to annul, to set aside]. 

Frog. 1. A policeman : see Beak. 

2. A Frenchman. Also Froggy and 
Frog-eater. [Formerly a Parisian ; 
the shield of whose city bore three 
toads, while the quaggy state of the 
streets gave point to a jest common 
at Versailles before 1791 : Qu'en di- 
sent les grenouilles ? i.e. What do 
the frogs (the people of Pahs) say ? ] 

3. A foot : see Creepers. To frog on, 
to get on, prosper. Frogging-on, 

Frog - and - Toad (rhyming). The 
main road. 

Frog-and-Toe. The city of New 

Froglander. A Dutchman : cf. 
Frog, sense 2. (1696.) 

Frog-salad. A ballet ; i.e. a Leg- 
piece (q.v.). 

Frog's-march. To give the frog's 
march, to carry a man face down- 
wards to the station ; a device adopted 
with drunken or turbulent prisoners. 

Frog's-wine. Gin : see Drinks. 

Frolic. A merry-making. 

Frosty-face. A pox-pitted man 

Front To conceal the operations 
of a pickpocket ; to cover (q.v.). 

Frontispiece. The face : see Dial 

Front-windows. The eyes ; also the 

Frost 1. A complete failure: of. 
Fr., four noir, temps noir. 2. A dearth 
of work, to have a frost, to be idle. 

Froudacious (Froudacity). The 
word ' Froudacity,' invented by Mr. 
Darnell Davis in his able review of 
The Bow of Ulysses, by Mr. T. A. 
Fronde, reached the height of popu- 
larity in the Australasian Colonies, 
where it was in everyday use, the 
author being accused of ignorance, 
misleading, and careless treatment in 
his book on the Australasian colonies. 




Froust (Harrow School). 1. 
Extra sleep allowed on Sunday morn- 
ings and whole holidays : FT., faire du 
lard. 2. A stink, stuffiness (in a 

Frousty. Stinking. 

F r o u t (Winchester College). 
Angry, vexed. 

Frow (Froe, or Vroe). A woman, 
wife, mistress. [From the Dutch.] 

Frummagemed. Choked, strangled, 
spoilt (1671). 

Frump. 1. A contemptuous speech 
or piece of conduct, sneer, a jest 
(1553). 2. A slattern ; more com- 
monly a prim old lady ; the correlative 
of Fogey (q.v.): Fr., graitton. 3. A 
cheat, a trick. As verb, to mock, in- 
sult (1589). 

Frumper. A sturdy man, good 
blade (1825). 

Frumpish. Cross-grained, old- 
fashioned and severe in dress, manners, 
morals, and notions : also ill-natured, 
given to frumps. Also Frumpy (1589). 

Frushee. An open jam tart. 

Fry. To translate into plain 
English : cf. Boil down. Go and fry 
your face, a retort expressive of in- 
credulity, derision, or contempt. 

Frying - pan. To leap (or jump) 
from the frying-pan into the fire, to go 
from bad to worse : cf. from the smoke 
into the smother ('As You Like It,' I. 
ii. ) : Fr., tomber de la poele dans la 
braise (1684). To fry the pewter, to 
melt down pewter measures. 

F-sharp. A flea : cf. B-flat. 

Fuant. Excrement. 

Fub. To cheat, steal, put off with 
false excuses. Also Fubbery, cheat- 
ing, stealing, deception. 

Fubsey (or Fubsy). Plump, fat, 
well - filled. Fubsy dummy, a well- 
filled pocket - book ; fubsy wench, a 
plump girl (Grose). 

Fubsiness. Any sort of fat- 

Fuddle. 1. Drink. [Wedgwood: 
A corruption of Fuzz.] (1621). 2. A 
drunken bout ; a Drunk. As verb, 
to be drunk: see Screwed. 

Fuddlecap (or Fuddler). A 
drunkard, boon companion : see Lush- 
ington (1607). 

Fuddled. Stupid with drink : see 
Screwed (1G61). 

Fudge. Nonsense, humbug, ex- 
aggeration, falsehood (1700). Also 

as an exclamation of contempt. As 
verb, (1) to fabricate, interpolate, 
contrive without proper materials. 
(2) To copy, to crib. (3) To botch, 
bungle, muff (q.v.). (4) To advance 
the hand unfairly at marbles. 

Fug (Shrewsbury School). To stay 
in a stuffy room. As adj., stuffy. 

Fuggy. A hot roll. 

Fugo. The rectum (Cotgrave). 

Fulhams (or Fullams). 1. Loaded 
dice ; called ' high ' or ' low ' Fulhams 
as they were intended to turn up 
high of low. [Conjecturally, because 
manufactured at Fulham, or because 
that village was a notorious resort 
of blacklegs.] (1594). 2. A sham, a 
Make-believe (q.v.) (1664). 

Fulham - virgin. A prostitute : 
cf. Bankside lady, Covent Garden nun, 
St. John's Wood vestal, etc. 

Fulk. To use an unfair motion of 
the hand in plumping at taw (Grose). 

F u 1 k e r. A pawnbroker : see 
Uncle (1566). 

Full. 1. Drunk : see Screwed. 2. 
Used by bookmakers to signify that 
they have laid all the money they wish 
against a particular horse. Full guts, 
a swag - bellied man or woman. A 
full hand, five large beers. Full in the 
belly, with child. Full in the pasterns 
(or the hocks), thick - ankled. Full 
team, an eulogium. A man is a full 
team when of consequence in the 
community. Variants are whole team, 
or whole team and a horse to spare : 
cf. One-horse=mean, insignificant, or 
strikingly small. Full in the waist- 
coat, swag-bellied. Full of 'em, lousy, 
nitty, full of fleas. Full to the bung, 
very drunk : see Screwed. To have 
(or wear) a full suit of mourning, to 
have two black eyes. Half -mourning, 
one black eye : see Mouse. To come 
full bob, to come suddenly, full tilt. 
Full against, (1) dead, or decidedly 
opposed to, a person, thing, or place. 
Full-flavoured, peculiarly rank : as a 
story, an exhibition of profane swear- 
ing. Full-gutted, stout, swag-bellied. 
Full of emptiness, utterly void. Full 
on, set strongly in a given direction, 
especially in an obscene sense. At 
full chisel, at full speed ; with the 
greatest violence or impetuosity. 
Also Full drive ; Full split. In full 
blast (swing), etc., in the height of 
success ; in hot pursuit. In full dig, 
on full pay. In full feather : see 


Fuller's Earth. 


Feather. In full fig : see Fig. Full 
of it, with child. Pull of guts, full of 
vigour, excellently inspired and done : 
as a picture, a novel, and BO forth : 
see Guts. Full of beans : see Beans. 
Full of bread : nee Bread. 

Fuller's Earth. Gin : see Satin. 

Fullied. To be fullied, to be com- 
mitted for trial : Fr., i-tre mis tur la 
planche au pain. [From the news- 
paper expression, Fully committed.] 

Fulness. There's not fulness 
enough in the sleeve top, a derisive 
answer to a threat. 

F u m b 1 e r. An impotent man 

Fumbles. Gloves. 

Fun. LA cheat, a trick. As 
verb, ( 1 ) to cheat, trick : also (2) To put 
the fun on. 2. The posteriors, or 
Western End (Marvett). Probably 
an abbreviation of fundament. To 
poke fun at, to joke, ridicule, make 
a butt. To have been making fun, 
intoxicated : see Screwed. 

Functior (or Puncture) (Win- 
chester College). An iron bracket 
candlestick, used for the nightlight in 
college chambers. [The word, says 
Winchester Notions, looks like fulc- 
tura, an earlier form of fulture, mean- 
ing a prop or stay, with phonetic 
change of I into n.] 

Fundamental -features. The 
posteriors (1818). 

Funds. Finances ; e.g. My 
funds are very low. 

Funeral. It's not my (or your) 
funeral, it is no business of mine, or 
yours : Fr., nib dans mes blots (that is 
not my affair). Also used affirm- 

Fungus. An old man. 

Funk. 1. Tobacco smoke ; also a 
powerful stink. 2. A state of fear, 
trepidation, nervousness, or cowardice, 
a stew (q.v.). Generally, with an 
intensitive, e.g. a mortal, awful, 
bloody, or blue funk : Fr., guenette, 
flubart, frousse. 3. A coward. As 
verb, (1) to smoke out : see Funk the 
cobbler. (2) To terrify, shrink or 
quail through nervousness or coward- 
ice. (3) To fear, hesitate, shirk ; and 
(among pugilists) to come it (q.v.). 
English jynonyms : to come it, to lose 
one's guts, to get the needle (athletic), 
(4) To be nervous, lose heart. (5) To 
move the hand forward unfairly in 
playing marbles; to fudge (q.v.). 

To funk the cobbler, to smoke out a 
schoolmate : a trick performed with 
asafoetida and cotton stuffed into a 
hollow tube or cow's horn ; the cotton 
being lighted, the smoke is blown 
through the keyhole (1698). See also 
Peter Funk. 

k'Funker. 1. A pipe, a cigar; a fire. 
2. A low thief. 3. A coward. 

Funking - room. The room at 
the Royal College of Surgeons where 
the students collect on the last even- 
ing of their final during the addition 
of their marks, and whence each is 
summoned by an official announcing 
failure or success. 

Funkster (Winchester College). 
A coward ; one that funks (q.v.). 

Funky. Nervous, frightened, timid 

Funnel. The throat : see Gutter 

Funniment. A joke, either practical 
or verbal. 

Funny. A clinker-built, narrow 
boat for sculls. To feel funny, to be 
overtaken with (1) emotion, or (2) 
drink : e.g. to wax amorous, or get the 
flavour (q.v.); to begin to be the 
worse for liquor. 

Funny Bone. The elbow, with the 
passage of the ulnar nerve connecting 
the two bones : the extremity of the 
humerus (1837). 

Funny - man. A circus clown. 
Also a joker in private life. 

Fur. To make the fur fly : see 
Fly. To have one's fur out, to be 

Fur - and - feathers. Generic for 

Furioso. A blusterer. Ital., 
furioso = raving (1692). English 
synonyms: barker, blower, bodadil, 
bouncer, bulldozer (American), caca- 
fogo, Captain Bounce, Captain Bluff, 
Captain Grand, Captain Hackam, 
cutter, fire-eater, hector, huff-cap, 
humguffin, gasser, gasman, mouth, 
mouth - almighty, pissfire, pump- 
thunder, ramper, roarer, ruffler, shite- 
fire, slangwhanger, spitfire, swash- 
buckler, swasher, teazer, Timothy 

Furk (Ferk, Firk) (Winchester 
College). To expel, send (as on a 
message), drive away. Also To furk 
up, and furk down. [Old English 
fercian, High German ferken. Middle 
English, to lead or send away.] 


Fur men. 


Furmen. Aldermen. From their 
fur-trimmed robes. 

Furmity-f aced. White-faced : e.g. 
to simper like a furmity kitten (Grose). 

Furnish. To fill out, improve in 
strength and appearance. 

Furniture-picture. A picture sold 
not as a piece of art but as a piece 
of upholstery, such things being turned 
out by the score, as pianos are, or 
three - legged stools ; the worst and 
cheapest kind of Pot-boiler (q.v.). 

Furry - tail. A non-unionist ; a 
Eat (q.v.). Specifically, a workman 
accepting employment at less than 
Society wages : cf. Dung, Flint, 

Further. Til see you further 
first, a denial. 

Fur-trade. Barristers. 

F u s s o c k (or Fussocks). Op- 
probrious term for a fat woman (1690). 

Fust (or Fust out). To end in 
smoke, go to waste, end in nothing : 
cf. Fizzle. 

Fustian. 1. Bombast, bad 
rhetoric, sound without sense, bom- 
bastic ranting : now accepted (1598). 

2. Wine. White fustian, champagne ; 
red fustian, port. 

Fustilarian. A low fellow, a 
common scoundrel (1598). 

Fustilug (Fustilugs). A piece of 
grossness male or female, a coarse 
and dirty Blowzalinda, a foul slut, a 
fat stinkard (1696). 

Future. To deed in futures, to 
speculate for a rise or fall. 

Fuzz. 1. To shuffle cards min- 
utely ; also to change the pack (Grose). 
2. To be, or make, drunk (1685). 

Fuzziness. The condition of 
being in drink. Hence blurredness, 
incoherence, bewilderment. 

Fuzzy. 1. Drunk : see Screwed. 
Hence blurred (as a picture), tangled, 
incoherent or inconsequent. 2. Rough, 
as in a fuzzy head, a fuzzy cloth, a 
fuzzy bit (a full - grown wench), a 
fuzzy carpet, etc. 

Fuzzy-wuzzy. A Soudanese tribes- 

Fye-buck. A sixpence : see Rhino 

Fylche. See Filch. 

Fyst. See Foist. 

Gab. 1. The mouth ; also Gob : 
see Potato trap. 2. Talk, idle babble : 
also Gabb, Gabber, and Gabble (1712). 
As verb, to talk fluently or brilliantly, 
to lie (1383). Gift of the gab (or gob), 
the gift of conversation, the talent for 
speech: Fr., ri" avoir pas sa languedans 
sa poche. To blow the gab, to inform, 
peach (q.v.). Also to blow the gaff 
(q.v.). To flash the gab, to show off 
(q. v. ) in talk ; cf. Air one's vocabulary. 

Gabble. 1. A gossip : also 
Gabbler, Gabble - grinder, Gabble- 
merchant, and Gabble - monger. 2. 
A voluble talker. 

Gabble-mill. 1. The United States 
Congress : also Gabble-manufactory. 
2. A pulpit : see Humbox. 3. The 
mouth : see Potato-trap. 

Gable. The head : also Gable- 
end : see Crumpet. 

Gabster. A voluble talker, whether 
eloquent or vain ; one having the Gift 
of the gab (q.v.). 

Gab-string. See Gob-string. 

Gaby (also Gabbey and Gabby). 
A fool, babbler, boor : see Buffle. 

Gad. An idle slattern : i.e. Gad- 
about (q.v.). As intj., an abbrevia- 
tion of By Gad ! On the gad, 1. on the 
spur of the moment. 2. On the move, 
on the gossip. 3. On the spree (especi- 
ally of women) ; and, by implication, 
on the town. To gad the hoof, to walk 
or go without shoes, Pad the hoof 
(q.v.). Also, more loosely, to walk or 
roam about. 

Gadabout. A trapesing gossip ; as 
a housewife seldom seen at home, but 
very often at her neighbours' doors. 
Also as adjective ; e.g. A Gad-about 

G a ff. 1. A fair (1754). 2. A 
cheap, low music - hall or theatre ; 
frequently Penny-gaff. 3. A hoax, 
an imposture. 4. (American cock- 
pit) A steel spur. 5. (anglers') A 
landing spear, barbed in the iron. As 
verb, (1) to toss for liquor. (2) To play 
in a gaff (q.v. sense 2). To blow the 
gaff (or gab), to give information, let 
out a secret (1185). 

G a ff e r. 1. An old man ; the 
masculine of Gammer (q.v.). Also a 



Call <i,.t. 

title of address: e.g. Good day, 
gaffer! Cf. Uncle and Daddy. 
Also, by implication, a husband. 2. 
A master, employer, BOBS (q.v.) ; 
(athletic) a pedestrian trainer and 
'farmer'; and (navvies') a gang- 
master or Ganger (q.v.) (1719). 3. 
A toss-penny, a gambler. 

G a ffi n g. A mode of tossing for 
drinks, etc., in which three coins are 
placed in a hat, shaken up, and then 
thrown on the table. If the party to 
call, calls heads (or tails) and all 
three coins are as he calls them, he 
wins ; if not, he pays a settled amount 
towards drinks (Kgan). 

Gag. 1. A joke, invention, hoax. 
Also as verb, to hoax, puff ( 1 78 1 ). 2. 
Expressions interpolated by an actor 
in his part : especially such as can be 
repeated again and again in the course 
of performance. Certain plays, as 'The 
Critic,' are recognised 'gag-pieces,' 
and in these the practice is accounted 
legitimate. Cf. ' Hamlet,' m. ii. 'And 
let those that play your clowns, say no 
more than is set down for them.' Cf. 
Wheeze. A typical example is the 
' I believe you, my boy ! ' of the late 
Paul Bedford. Occasionally gag = 
patter (q.v.). Also as verb. 3. A 
commonwealth of players in which 
the profits are shared : cf. Conscience. 
4. A fool ; i.e. a thing to laugh at : see 
Buffle. 5. (Christ's Hospital). Boiled 
fat beef. Gag-eater, a term of reproach 
(1813). 6. (Winchester College). An 
exercise (said to have been invented 
by Dr. Gabell) which consists in 
writing Latin criticisms on some 
celebrated piece, in a book sent in 
about once a month. In the Parts 
below Sixth Book and Senior Part, the 
gags consisted in historical analysis. 
[An abbreviation of gathering.] As 
verb, (1) see supra, and (2) to in- 
form, Round on (q.v.); also to blow 
the gag. On the high gag, on the 
whisper, telling secrets. On the low 
gag, on the last rungs of beggary, ill- 
luck, or despair. To strike the gag, to 
cease from chaffing. 

Gage (Gauge, or Gag). 1. A quart 
pot (i.e. a measure) : also a drink or 
Go (q.v.). (1567). 2. (18th century). 
A chamber-pot 3. A pipe (1696). 4. 
A man : see Cove. 

Gagers. The eyes : see Glims. 

Gagga. A cheat, who by sham 
pretence and wonderful stories of 

suffering imposes on the credulity of 

G a g g e r. A player dealing in 
Gags (q.v.), sense 2. Also Gaggist, 
Gag- master, and Gagster. 

Gaggery. The practice of Gag- 
ging (q.v.), sense 3. 

Gagging. 1. Bluff (q.v.) ; speci- 
fically, Bunco-steering (q.v.), the art of 
talking over and persuading a stranger 
that he is an old acquaintance. 2. 
Loitering about for fares, ' crawling.' 
3. Dealing in Gags (q.v.), sense 1. 
Also as ppl. adj. 

Gaggler's-coach. A hurdle. 

Gail. A horse : see Prad. 

Gaily - like. Showy, expensive, 
Bang-up (q.v.). 

Gain-pain. A sword ; specifically, in 
the Middle Ages, that of a nired soldier. 
FT., gagner = to gain + pain, bread. 
Cf. Breadwinner and Potboiler 

Gait Walk in life, profession, 
mode of making a living, Game (q.v.). 

Gaiters. Half boots, shoes. 

Gal. 1. A girl, servant-maid, sweet- 
heart. Beat girl, favourite flame. 2. 
A prostitute. 3. A female rough. 

Galaney. See Galeny. 

Galanty- (Gallanty- or Gal an tee-) 
show. A shadow pantomime : silhou- 
ettes shown on a transparency or 
thrown on a white sheet by a magic 
lantern : specifically, the former. 

Gal-boy. A romp, Tom-boy (q.v.). 

Galen. An apothecary : see 

Galena. Salt pork. [Galen, 
111., a chief hog-raising and pork- 
packing centre.] 

Galeny (or Galany). The domestic 
hen ; now (West of England) a guinea 
fowl : see Cackling - cheat [Latin, 

Galimaufrey. 1. A medley, jumble, 
chaos of differences. [Fr. , gaUimaufree, 
a hash.] (1592). 2. A hodge-podge 
of scraps and leavings (1724). 3. A 
mistress (1596). 

Gall. Effrontery, Cheek (q.v.), 
Brass (q.v.) ; e.g. Ain't he got a 
gall on him ? (1789). 

Gallant A Dandy (q.v.), ladies' 
man, lover, cuckold-maker, whether 
in posse or in ease. (Shakespeare). As 
adj., (1) valiant ; (2) showy ; (3) amor- 
ous. As verb, to sweetheart, squire, 
escort, pursue, or enjoy. To 
gallant a fan, to break with design. 


Gallant Fiftieth. 


to afford an opportunity of presenting 
a better (B. E.) (1690). 

Gallant Fiftieth. The Fiftieth 
Foot. [For its share in Vimiera, 
1808.] Also, Blind half - hundred 
(q.v.); and Dirty half-hundred (q.v.). 

Gallantry. (1) Sparkishness 
(q.v.), dandyism; and (2) the habit, 
or pursuit, of sexuality. A life of 
gallantry, a life devoted to the other 

Gallery (Winchester College) 
A commoner bedroom. [From a tra- 
dition of galleries in Commoners.] 
See Gallery -nymphs. To play to the 
gattery, to act so as to win the applause 
of the vulgar : i.e. to abandon distinc- 
tion and art for coarseness of means 
and cheapness of effect. Said indif- 
ferently of any one in any profession 
who exerts himself to win the suffrages 
of the mob ; as a political demagogue, 
a ' popular ' preacher, a ' fashion- 
able ' painter, and so on. Hence, 
Gattery -hit (shot, stroke, etc.), a 
touch designed for, and exclusively ad- 
dressed to, the non-critical. To play 
the gallery, to make an audience, ap- 

Gallery-nymph (Winchester Col- 
lege). A housemaid : see Gallery. 

Galley. Put a brass galley down 
your back (printers'), an admonition to 
appear before a principal, implying 
that the galley will serve as a screen. 

Galley-foist. The state barge, used 
by the Lord Mayor when sworn in at 
Westminster (1609). 

Galley - growler (or stoker). 
A loafer, Malingerer (q.v.), Grumble- 
guts (q.v.). 

Galley - halfpenny. A base coin, 
temp. Henry IV. Because commonly 
imported in Genoese galleys.] 

Galley-slave. A compositor : see 
Donkey (1683). 

Galleywest. An indefinite super- 
lative : cf. About-east. 

Galley-yarn (or news). A lying 
story, a swindle or Take-in (q.v.). 
Frequently abbreviated to ' G.Y.' 

Gallied. Harried, vexed, over- 
fatigued, perhaps like a galley-slave 
(Grose). In Australia, frightened. 

Gallinipper. A large mosquito. 

Gallipot. An apothecary. Eng- 
lish synonyms: bolus, bum-tender, 
clyster-giver, clyster-pipe, croaker, 
crocus, drugs, OUapod (from a crea- 
tion of the Younger Coleman's), 

gagemonger, Galen (from the great 
physician), jakes- provider, pill- box, 
pill - merchant, pills, squirt, salts- 
and-senna, squire of the pot. 

Gallivant. 1. To gad about 
with, or after, one of the other sex, 
play the gallant, do the agreeable. 
2. To Trapes (q.v.), fuss, bustle about. 

Gallivate. To frisk, figure about: 
cf. Gallivant. 

Gallon. What's a gallon of rum 
among one ? The retort sarcastic ; 
applied, e.g. to those with ' eyes too 
big for their stomach,' to dispro- 
portionate ideas of the fitness of things, 
and so forth. 

Gallon - distemper. 1. Delirium 
tremens ; 2. the lighter after-effects of 
drinking. English synonyms : ( 1 ) For 
the former barrel-fever, black-dog, 
blue-devils, blue Johnnies (Australian), 
B. J. (idem), blues, bottle-ache, D. T. ; 
horrors, jim-jams, jumps, pink-spiders, 
quart - mania, rams, rats, shakes, 
snakes in the boots, trembles, triangles, 
uglies. (2) For the latter a head, hot- 
coppers, a mouth, a touch of the 
brewer, a sore head (Scots). 

Galloper. 1. A blood horse, a 
hunter. 2. An aide-de-camp. 

Gallow-grass. Hemp [i.e. halters 
in the rough.] (1578). 

Gallows. 1. A rascal, a wretch 
deserving the rope (1594). 2. gener- 
ally in. pi., Gallowses, a pair of braces. 
As adv., excessively : cf. Bloody, 
Bleeding (q.v.), etc. As adj., great, 
uncommon, real (1551). 

Gallows-bird (also Newgate- 
bird). 1. A son of the rope, habitual 
criminal, vagabond or scoundrel old 
or young, crack-rope or wag-halter 
(Cotgrave ; a gallows clapper ( Florio) : 
FT., gibier de Cayenne (or de potence). 
2. (common). A corpse on, or from, 
the gallows. 

Gallows-faced. Evil-looking, hang- 
dog : also Gallows-looking (1766). 

Gallows - minded. Criminal in 
habit and idea, evil-hearted. 

Gallowsness. Rascality, reck- 
lessness, mischievousness. 

Gallows-ripe. Ripe for the rope. 

Callus. See Gallows. 

Gally-foist. See Galley-foist. 

Gallyslopes. Breeches: see 

Galoot (also Galloot and Geeloot). 
A man (sometimes in contempt) ; also 
(in America) a worthless fellow (or 




thing), rowdy, Cad (q.v.)- On the gay 
galoot, on the spree. 

Galoptious (or Galuptious). 
Delightful : a general superlative. 

Galore (also Gallore and Golore). 
In abundance, plenty. 

Galumph. To bump along : ono- 

Galvanised-Yankee. A Greyback 
(q.v.) who took the oath to the North 
and served in its armies. 

Gam. 1. Pluck, gameness. 2. 
Stealing ( MaUdl, 1859). As verb, ( 1 ) 
to steal. (2) To engage in social inter- 
course, make a call, have a chat. 

Gamaliel. A pedant, a person 
curious of the letter and the form : 
e.g. these Gamaliels of the theory 
= these ultra- puritans, to whom the 
spirit is nothing. 

Gamb (or Gam). A leg: an heraldic 
term. [It., gambe ; Fr., jambe ; prob- 
ably through Lingua Franca.] 

Gamble. A venture, Flutter (q.v.). 

Gambler. ' A guinea - dropper ; 
one class of sharpers ' (Bailey). ' A 
tricking gamester ' (Grose). ' A cant 
word, I suppose. A knave whose 
practice it is to invite the unwary to 
game and cheat them ' (Johnson). 

Gambol. A railway ticket 

Gam-cases. Stockings. 

Game. 1. The proceeds of a 
robbery, Swag (q.v.). 2. A company 
of harlots. A game - pullet, a young 

B restitute. 3. A gull, simpleton : see 
uffle. 4. Specifically, the game, 
thieving ; also (nautical), slave trading. 
Hen of the game, a shrew, a fighting 
woman (1639). 5. A source of amuse- 
ment, Lark (q.v.), Barney (q.v.) ; as, 
e.g. It was such a game ! 6. A 
design, trick, object, line of conduct : 
e.g. What's your little game, What 
are you after ? Also, None of your little 
games ! None of your tricks ! As adj., 

( 1 ) plucky, enduring, full of spirit and 
Bottom (q.v.). [Cock-pit and pugil- 
ists. The word may be said to have 
passed into the language with the rise 
to renown of Harry Pearce, sur- 
named the Game Chicken.] (1747). 

(2) Beady, willing, prepared. [Also 
from cock-fighting. See sense 1.] 

(3) Lame, crooked, disabled : as in 
Game leg. (4) Knowing, wide-awake, 
and (of women) Flash (q.v.) : e.g. 
Qame-cove, an associate of thieves ; 
Game-woman, a prdstitute; Game-ship 
(old), a ship whose commander and 

officers could be corrupted by bribes to 
allow the cargo to be stolen (Clark 
Rwtsell). Cock of the game, a champ- 
ion, an undoubted blood, a star of 
magnitude (cock-pit) (1719). To mate 
game of, to turn into ridicule, delude, 
humbug (1671). To die game, to 
maintain a resolute attitude to the last, 
to show no contrition. To get against 
the game, to take a risk, chance it. 
[From the game of poker.] To play 
the game, to do a thing properly, do 
what is right and proper. 

Gamecock. Hectoring, angry, 
valiant out of place. 

Gameness. Pluck, endurance, the 
mixture of spirit and bottom. 

Gamester. 1. A prostitute (1598). 
2. A ruffler, gallant, wencher ; a man 
fit and ready for anything ; also a 
player (1639). 

G a m e y. 1. High - smelling, 
offensive to the nose, half-rotten. 2. 
Frisky, plucky. 

Gaminess. The malodorousness 
proceeding from decay and by im- 
plication filthiness. 

Gaming-house. A house of ill-re- 
pute hell, tavern, or stews (1611). 

Gammer. An old wife : a familiar 
address the correlative of Gaffer 
(q.v.) (1551). 

Gamming. A whaleman's term for 
visits paid by crews to each other at 

Gammon. 1. Nonsense, humbug, 
deceit : sometimes Gammon and 
spinach. No gammon, no error, no 
lies (1363). Also as verb, English 
synonyms : to bam, to bamblustercate, 
to bamboozle, to bambosh, to barney, 
to be on the job, to best, to bilk, to 
blarney, to blow, to bosh, to bounce, 
to cob, to cod, to cog, to chaff, to come 
over (or the artful, or Paddy, or the 
old soldier over) one, to cram, to do, 
to do brown, to doctor, to do Taffy, 
to fake the kidment, to flare up, to 
flam, to flummox, to get at (round, 
or to windward of) one, to gild the 
pill, to give a cock's egg, to gravel, 
to gull, to haze, to jimmify, to jaw, 
to jockey, to jolly, to kid, to make 
believe the moon is made of green 
cheese (Cotgrave). to mogue, to palm 
off on, to pickle, to plant, to plum, to 
poke bogey (or fun) at, to promoss, 
to put the kibosh on, to put in the 
chair, cart, or basket, to pull the leg, 
to queer, to quiz, to roast, to roor- 



back, to run a bluff, or the shenani- 
gan, to sell, to send for pigeon's milk, 
to sit upon, to send for oil of strappum, 
etc., to shave, to slum, or slumguzzle, 
to smoke, to snack, to soap, soft soap, 
sawder, or soft sawder, to spoof, to 
stick, to stall, to string, or get on a 
string, to stuff, to sawdust, or get on 
sawdust and treacle, to suck, to suck 
up, to sugar, to swap off, to take a rise 
out of, to rot, to tommy-rot, to take 
in, or down, to take to town, to take 
to the fair, to tip the traveller, to try 
it on, to throw dust in the eyes, to 
throw a tub to a whale, to pepper, 
to throw pepper in the eyes, to use the 
pepper box, to whiffle, to work the 
poppycock racket (Irish-American). 
[Note. Many of the foregoing are 
used substantively.] 2. A confederate 
whose duty is to engage the attention 
of a victim during robbery, Bonnet 
(q.v.), Cover (q.v.). Also as verb, 
to humbug : deceive, to take in. As 
intj., nonsense, Skittles (q.v.). Gam- 
mon and Patter, (I) the language used 
by thieves ; (2) (modern), a meeting, a 
Palaver (q.v.) ; (3) commonplace talk 
of any kind. To give (or keep) in 
gammon, to engage a person's atten- 
tion while a confederate is robbing 
him (1719). To gammon lushy (or 
queer, etc.), to feign drunkenness, 
sickness, etc. To gammon the twelve, 
to deceive the jury. 

Gammoner. 1. One who Gam- 
mons (q.v.), a nonsense-monger: Fr., 
bonisseur de loffitudes, blagueur, man- 
geur de frimes. 2. A confederate who 
covers the action of his chief, Bonnet 
Cover, Stall, all which see. 

Gammy. 1. Cant. 2. A nick- 
name for a lameter ; a Hopping Jesus 
(q.v.). 3. A fool : see Buffle. As 
adj., (1) bad, impossible. Applied to 
householders of whom it is known 
that nothing can be got. Gammy- 
vial, a town in which the police will 
not allow unlicensed hawking. (Vial, 
Fr., ViUe). (2) Forged, false, spurious : 
as a gammy -moneker, a forged signa- 
ture ; gammy-lour, counterfeit money, 
etc. (3) Old, ugly. (4) Same as Game, 
sense 3 : e.g. a gammy arm, an arm 
in dock. Gammy-eyed, blind, sore- 
eyed ; or afflicted with ecchymosis in 
the region of the eyes. Gammey-leg, 
a lame leg. Also (subs.) a term of 
derision for the halt and the maimed. 

Gamp. 1. A monthly nurse, 

Fingersmith (q.v.). Mrs. Sarah 
Gamp, a character in Martin Chuzzle- 
wit (1843).] Also a fussy and gossip- 
ing busybody. 2. An umbrella ; 
specifically, one large and loosely 
tied, Lettuce (q.v.). [The original 
Sarah always carried one of this said 
pattern.] Sometimes a Sarah Gamp. 
Mrs. Gamp, The Standard. As adj., 
bulging : also Gampish. 

Gamut. Tone, general scheme, 
Swim (q.v.). Thus in the gamut, a 
picture, a detail, or a shade of colour, 
in tone with its environment. 

Gan (also Gane). The mouth : 
occasionally, throat, lip : see Potato 
trap (1572). 

Gander. A married man ; in 
America one not living with his wife, 
Grass- widower (q.v.). As verb, to 
ramble, waddle (as a goose). Also, to 
quest for women. Gone gander : see 
Gone coon. To see how the gander 
hops, to watch events, see how the cat 
jumps. What's sauce for the goose is 
sauce for the gander, a plea for consist- 

Gander-month. The month after 
confinement ; when a certain license 
(or so it was held) is excusable in the 
male. Also Gander-moon, the hus- 
band at such a period being called a 
Gander-mooner : of. Buck-hutch, and 
Goose-month (1617). 

Gander - party. A gathering of 
men, Stag-party (q.v.) ; also Bull- 
dance, Gander-gang, etc. : cf. Hen- 
party, an assembly of women. 

Gander-pulling. See Goose-riding. 

Gander 's-wool. Feathers. 

Gang. A troop, a company (1639). 

Ganger. An overseer or foreman 
of a gang of workmen, a superin- 

Ganymede. A pot-boy (i.e. 
a cup-bearer) : the masculine of Hebe 
(q.v.) (1659). 

Gaol-bird. A person often in gaol, 
an incorrigible rogue : Fr., chevronnt. 

Gaoler's - coach. A hurdle to the 
place of execution (1785). 

Gap. To blow the gap, to blow the 
Gaff (q.v.). 

Gapes. A fit of yawning ; also the 
open mouth of astonishment (1818). 

Gapeseed. 1. A cause of aston- 
ishment, anything provoking the 
ignorant to stare with open mouth : 
also to seek a gape's nest ( 1598). 2. An 
open-mouthed loiterer. 



Gapped. Worsted, Floored (q.v.). 

Gar. See By gar ! 

Garble. Garbling the coinage, a 
practice amongst money-lenders of 
picking out the newest coins of full 
weight for export or re-melting, and 
passing the light ones into circula- 

Garden (The). 1. (greengrocers', 
fruiterers', etc.), Covent Garden 
Market ; 2. (theatrical), Covent Gar- 
den Theatre ; 3. (diamond merchants'), 
Hatton Garden. Cf. House, Lane, 
etc. The Garden (Covent Garden) 
was frequently used for the whole 
neighbourhood, which was notorious 
as a place of strumpets and stews. 
Thus, Garden house, a brothel ; 
Garden-goddess, a woman of pleasure ; 
Garden-gout, venereal disease ; Gar- 
den-whore, a low prostitute, etc.] To 
put one in the garden, to defraud a 
confederate, keep back part of the 
Regulars (q.v.), or Swag (q.v.). 

Gardener. An awkward coach- 
man : cf. Tea-kettle Coachman. 

Garden-gate (rhyming). A 
magistrate : see Beak. 

Garden Latin. Barbarous or 
sham Latin ; also Apothecaries', Bog, 
Dog, and Kitchen Latin. 

Garden - rake. A tooth - comb : 
also Scratching-rake, or Rake. 

Gardy-loo. A warning cry ; 
take care ! [Fr., gardez (vous de) 
Veau 1 Used before emptying slops 
out of window into the street. Hence 
the act of emptying slops itself.] 

Gargle. A drink : generic : cf. 
Lotion, and see Go. As verb, to 
drink, liquor up : see Lush. 

Gargle-factory. A public house : 
see Lush-crib. 

Gam. A corruption of Go on I Get 
away with you ! 

Garnish. 1. A fee, Footing (q.v.) ; 
specifically when exacted by gaolers 
and old prisoners from a newcomer. 
The practice was forbidden by 4 Geo. 
IV., c. 43, sec. 12. Also Garnish- 
money (1592). 2. Fetters, handcuffs : 
see Darbies. As verb, to fetter, 

Garret 1. The head, Cockloft 
(q.v.), Upper storey (q.v.) : see 
Crumpet (1625). 2. The fob-pocket. 
To have one's garret unfurnished, to be 
crazy, stupid, lumpish : Balmy (q.v.). 

Garreteer. LA thief robbing 
houses by entering skylights or garret- 

windows : also Dancer and Dancing- 
master. 2. An impecunious author, 
literary hack. 

Garret-master. A cabinet - maker 
working on his own account, and selling 
his manufacture to the dealers direct. 

Garrison-hack. 1. A woman given 
to indiscriminate flirtation with 
officers at a garrison. 2. A prostitute, 
a soldier's trull. 

Garrotte. A form of strangula- 
tion (see verb). [From the Spanish 
la garrota, a method of capital punish- 
ment, which consists in strangulation 
by means of an iron collar.] As verb, 

( 1 ) a method of robbery with violence, 
much practised some years ago. The 
victims were generally old or feeble 
men and women. Three hands were 
engaged : the Front-stall who looked 
out in that quarter, the Back-stall at 
the rear, and the Ugly or Nasty- man 
who did the work by passing his arm 
round his subject's neck from behind, 
and so throttling him to insensibility. 

(2) To cheat by concealing certain 
cards at the back of the neck. 

Garrotte r. A practitioner of 
garrotting (under verb, sense 1). 

Garrotting. 1. See Garrotte (verb, 
sense 1). 2. Hiding a part of one's 
hand at the back of the neck for 
purposes of cheating. 

Garter. In pi. the irons, or 
bilboes : see Darbies. To fly (or 
prick) the garter : see Prick. 

G a r v i e s. 1. Sprats : some- 
times Garvie-herring. 2. The Garvies t 
the Ninety-fourth Foot. [From the 
small stature of earlier recruits.] 

Gas. Empty talk, bounce, bombast. 
As verb, (1) to talk idly, brag, bounce, 
talk for talking' s sake : Fr., faire son 
cheval de corbvUard (in American, To 
be on the tall grass) : see Long Bow. 
(2) To impose on, to Pill t (q.v.), to 
Splash (q.v.) : see Gammon. To take 
the gas out of one, to take the conceit 
out of, take down a peg. To turn on 
the gas, to bounce, Gas (q.v.). To 
turn off the gas, to cease, or cause to 
cease, from bouncing, vapouring, or 
Gas (q.v.). To gas round, to seek 
information on the sly, Gas (q.v.). 

Gas-bag. A man of words or Gas 
(q- v -) gasconader : also Gasometer. 

Gash. The mouth : sea Potato- 

Gashly. A vulgarism for Ghastly. 

G a s k i n s. Wide hose, wide 




breeches. From Galligaskins, An 
old ludicrous word (Johnson). 

Gasp. A dram of spirits : see Go. 
As verb, to drink a dram, e.g. Will you 
gasp ? Will you take something neat. 

G a s p i p e. 1. An iron steamer, 
whose length is nine or ten times her 
beam. [At one time a ship's length 
but rarely exceeded four and a half to 
five times the beam.] 2. A bad roller. 
3. A rifle, specifically the old Snider. 

Gaspipe- crawler. A thin man : see 

Gasser. A braggart. 

Gassy (or Gaseous). 1. Likely 
to take umbrage or to flare up. 2. 
Full of empty talk or Gas (q.v.). 

Gaster. A fine and curious eater 
(Thackeray). In Rabelais, the belly 
and the needs thereof : a coinage 
adopted by Urquhart. 

Gat. A quantity ; e.g. a gat of 
grub, plenty to eat : also Gats. 

Gate. 1. The attendance at a race 
or athletic meeting, held in enclosed 
grounds ; the number of persons who 
pass the gate. 2. Money paid for ad- 
mission to athletic sports, race course, 
etc., the same as Gate-money (q.v.). 
3. in. pi. (University). The being for- 
bidden to pass outside the gate of a 
college : as verb, to confine wholly 
or during certain hours within the 
college gate for some infraction of 
discipline. To break gates, to stay out 
of college after hours. The gate, 
among fishmongers, Billingsgate ; 
among thieves, Newgate : cf. Lane, 
Row, Garden, etc. To be at gates 
(Winchester College). To assemble in 
Seventh Chamber passage, prepara- 
tory to going Hills or Cathedral. On 
the gate, on remand. 

Gate-bill. The record of an under- 
graduate's failure to be within the 
precincts of his college at, or before, a 
specified time at night. 

Gate - money. The charge for 
admission to a race - meeting: see 

G a t e r (Winchester College). A 
plunge head foremost into a Pot (q.v.). 

Gate - race (or meeting). For- 
merly, a contest not got up for sport 
but entrance money ; now a race or 
athletic meeting to which admission 
is by payment. 

Gath. A city or district in Philistia 
(q.v.); often used, like Askelon (q.v.)for 
Philistia itself. Hence, to be 

in Oath, to be a Philistine (q.v.) of the 
first magnitude ; to prevail against Oath, 
to smite the Philistines hip and thigh, 
as becomes a valiant companion of 
the Davidsbund ; and so forth. Tell it 
not in Oath, an interjection of derision, 
signifying that the person exclaimed 
against has done something the know- 
ledge of which would bring on him 
the wrath, or the amazement, of his 

Gather. To gather up, to lead 
away. To gather the taxes, to go from 
workshop to workshop seeking employ- 
ment. Hence, Tax gatherer, a man 
out of work and looking for a job : 
cf. Inspector of public buildings. Out 
of gathers, in distress : cf. Out at 

Gatherings. See Gags. 

Gatter. Beer ; also liquor gener- 
ally. Shant of gatter, a pot of beer : 
Fr., moussante : see Drinks. 

Gaudeamus. A feast, drinking bout, 
any sort of merry-making. [German 
students', but now general and popu- 
lar.] From the first word of the 
mediaeval (students') ditty. 

Gaudy (or Gaudy-day). A feast 
or entertainment : specifically the 
annual dinner of the fellows of a 
college in memory of founders or 
benefactors ; or a festival of. the Inns 
of Court (Lat., gander e, to rejoice). 
(1724). As adj., good, frolicsome, 
festive : cf. Shakespeare's ' Let's have 
one other gaudy night ('Ant. and Cleo.,' 
m. xiii.). Neat but not gaudy, as the 
devil said, of ancient ladies dressed in 
flaming colours. 

Gauge. See Gage. To get the 
gauge of, to divine an intention, to 
read a character, to Size (or Reckon) 
up (q.v.). Hence, That's about the 
gauge of it, That's a fair descrip- 

Gauley. See By golly. 

Gawf. A red-skinned apple. 

Gawk. A simpleton, especially 
an awkward fool, male or female : see 
Buffle. [Scots Gowk, a cuckoo, fool ; 
whence, to gowk, to play the fool. As 
in the ' Derision of Wanton Women ' 
(Bannatyne, MS., 1667), ' To gar them 
ga in gucking,' to make them play the 
fool.] As verb, to loiter round ; to 
Play the goat. [The same verb is 
used by Jonson (Magnetic Lady, iii. 
4, 1632) in the sense of amazed, or 
bamboozled, i.e. absolutely befooled : 


' Nay, look how the man stands, as he 
were gowked ! '] 

Gawkiness. Awkwardness, silli- 
ness, Greenness (q.v.). 

Gawking. Loitering and staring, 
Gathering hayseed (q.v.). 

Gawky. An awkward booby, a 
fool : e.g. Now squire gawky, a chal- 
lenge to a clumsy lout : see Buffle 
(1686). As adj., lanky, awkward, 
stupid (1759). 

Gawney (or Goney). A fool : see 

Gay. 1. Dissipated, specifically, 
given to venery : as in the French, 
avoir la cuisse gate. Hence Qay 
woman (girl, or bit), a strumpet ; Gay 
house, a brothel ; To be gay, to be in 
continent, etc., etc. (1383). 2. In 
drink : see Screwed. All gay (or 
all so gay), all right, first-rate, All 
serene (q.v.). To feel gay, inclined for 

Gay-tyke Boy. A dog fancier. 

Gazebo. A summer-house com- 
manding an extensive view. [Dog- 
Latin, Gazebo, I will gaze.] 

Geach. A thief. 

Gear. Work, Business (q.v.). Thus: 
Here's goodly gear, Here's fine doings ; 
Here's a pretty kettle of fish (' Romeo 
and Juliet,' n. ii. 106). 

Gee. See Gee-gee. As verb, (1) 
to go or turn to the off -side ; used as a 
direction to horses. (2) To move 
faster : as a teemster to his horses, 
Gee-up! (3) To stop: as Gee 
whoa ! To gee with, to agree with, 
fit, be congenial, go on all fours with, 
do (1696). 

Gee-gee (or Gee). 1. A horse : see 
Prad. 2. The nickname among jour- 
nalists (of the interviewer type) of 
Mr. G(eorge) G(rossmith), better 
known, perhaps, as the Society Clown. 

Gee-gee Dodge. Selling horseflesh 
for beef. 

Geekie. A police-station. \ 

Geeloot. See Galoot 

Geese. All his geese are auxins, 
he habitually exaggerates, or Embroi- 
ders (q.v.) ; or, He is always wrong in 
his estimates of persons and things. 
The old woman's picking her geese, said 
of a snowstorm : the other leg of the 
couplet (schoolboys') runs: 'And 
selling the feathers a penny a piece.' 
Like geese on a common, wandering in a 
body, aggressive and at large : e.g. 
as Faddists (q.v.) in pursuit of a 

Fad ; or members of Parliament in re- 
cess, when both sides go about to say 
the thing which is in them. 

Geewhilikens 1 An exclamation of 
surprise : also Jeewhilikens. 

Geezer. An appellation, some- 
times, but not necessarily, of derision 
and contempt ; applied to both sexes, 
but generally to women : usually, Old 

Gelding. A eunuch. To enter 
for the geldings' stakes, to castrate a 
man ; also used to describe a eunuch. 

Gelt Money, Gilt (q.v.), Gelter : 
generic: see Rhino. 

Gemini ! (Geminy ! or Jiminy !) 
An exclamation of surprise, a mild 
oath : also O Jimminy ! O Jimminy 
Figs ! O Jimminy Gig ! etc. : for 
the phrase has pleased the cockney 
mind, and been vulgarised accordingly 

Gemman. A contraction of gentle- 
man (1550). 

Gen. A shilling : see Rhino. Back 
slang, but cf. Fr., argent.} 

Generalize. A shilling : see 
Rhino and Gen. 

Geneva Print Gin : see Drinks and 
Satin (1584). 

G e n - n e t (back slang). Ten 

Gennitraf (back slang). A 

Genol (back slang). Long. 

Gent 1. A showily-dressed vul- 
garian. [A contraction of gentle- 
man.] (1635). 2. Money: see 
Rhino [Fr., argent.} 3. A sweetheart, 
mistress : e.g. My gent, my particular 
friend. As adj., elegant, comely, 
genteel (1383). 

Gentile. Any sort of stranger, 
native or foreign ; among the Mormons, 
any person not professing the Gospel 
according to Joe Smith. Hence, In 
the land of the Gentiles, (1) in foreign 
parts ; and (2) in strange neighbour- 
hoods or alien society. 

Gentle. A maggot ; vulgarly, 

Gentle-craft 1. Shoemaking. 
[From the romance of Prince Crispin.] 
2. Angling. 

Gentleman. A crowbar : see 
Jemmy. To put a churl (or beggar) 
upon a gentleman, to drink malt liquor 
immediately after wine (Grose). 
Gentleman of the (three, four, or five) 
outs (or ins), a varying and ancient 


Gentleman Commoner. 


wheeze, of which the following are 
representative : Out of money, and 
out of clothes ; Out at the heels, and 
out at the toes ; Out of credit, and in 
debt. A man in debt, in danger, and 
in poverty ; or in gaol indicted, 
and in danger of being hanged. Out 
of pocket, out of elbows, and out 
of credit. Without wit, without 
money, without manners. Gentleman 
of fortune, an adventurer. Oentleman 
of observation, a tout. Gentleman of 
the round, an invalided or disabled 
soldier, making his living by begging 
(1596). Gentleman of the short staff, a 
constable. Gentleman of the fist, a 
prize-fighter. Gentleman in brown, a 
bed bug : see Norfolk Howard. The 
little gentleman in brown velvet, a mole. 
[The Tory toast after the death of 
William III., whose horse was said to 
have stumbled over a mole hill.] Gen- 
tleman of the green baize road, a card 

Gentleman Commoner. 1. A 
privileged class of commoners at 
Oxford, wearing a special cut of 
gown and a velvet cap. 2. An empty 
bottle; also Fellow-commoner (q.v.). 
Gentleman - ranker. A broken 
gentleman serving in the ranks. 

Gentleman 's-companion. A louse : 
see Chates. 

Gentleman's - master. A high- 
wayman (Grose). 

Gentleman's (or Ladies'-) piece. 
A small or delicate portion, a Tit-bit. 
Gentlemen's - sons. The three 
regiments of Guards. 

Gently ! An interjection, Stand 
still (q.v.) ; hence, colloquially, don't 
get into a passion, Go slow (q.v.). 

Gentry-cove (or cofe). A gentle- 
man, Nib-cove (q.v.) : Fr., messire de 
la haute (1567). 

Gentry-cove's Ken (Gentry-ken). 
A gentleman's house (1567). 
Gentry-mort. A lady (1567). 
Genuine (Winchester College). 
Praise. As adj., trustworthy, not 
false nor double-faced. As verb, 
to praise. He was awfully quilled 
and genuined my task. 

G e o r d i e (North Country). 1. 
A pitman ; also (generally), a North- 
umbrian. 2. A North-country col- 
lier. 3. See George. 

George (or Geordie). 1. A half- 
crown : also (obsolete), the noble (6s. 
8d.), temp. Henry VIII. 2. A guinea : 

also Yellow George : see Rhino. 3. A 
penny : see Rhino. Brown George. 
See Ante. By fore (or By George). 
See By George. 

George Home. A derisive retort 
on a piece of stale news : also G. H. ! 
[From a romancing compositor of the 

Georgy-porgy. To pet, fondle, be- 

German. The German, a round 

German Duck. 1. Half a sheep's 
head, stewed with onions (Grose). 2. 
A bed bug : see Norfolk Howard. 

German - flutes (rhyming). A 
pair of boots. 

Germantowner. A pushing shot 
when balls in play jar together : cf. 

Gerry. Excrement (1567). 

Gerry Gan. A retort forcible, 
Stow it ! (q.v.) (1567). 

Gerrymander (the g hard as in 
get). To arrange the electoral sub- 
divisions of a State to the profit and 
advantage of a particular party. The 
term, says Norton, is derived from the 
name of Governor Gerry, of Massa- 
chusetts, who, in 1811, signed a Bill re- 
adjusting the representative districts 
so as to favour the Democrats and 
weaken the Federalists, although the 
last-named party polled nearly two- 
thirds of the votes cast. A fancied 
resemblance of a map of the districts 
thus treated led Stuart, the painter, to 
add a few lines with his pencil, and say 
to Mr. Russell, editor of the Boston 
Sentinel, ' That will do for a Sala- 
mander.' Russell glanced at it : 
' Salamander,' said he, ' call it a 
Gerrymander ! ' The epithet took at 
once, and became a Federalist war- 
cry, the caricature being published as 
a campaign document. 

Gerund-grinder. A schoolmaster, 
especially a pedant (1759). 

Get. 1. A cheating contrivance, 
a Have (q.v.). 2. A child : e.g. One 
of his gets, one of his making ; Whose 
get is that ? who's the father ? It's 
his get, anyhow ; at all events he got it 
( 1570). Get I (or You get .') Short for 
Get out ! Usually, Git ! To get at, 

(1) to quiz, banter, aggravate, take a 
rise out of : also To get back at. 

(2) To influence, bribe, nobble (of 
horses), and to corrupt (of persons) : 
applied to horse, owner, trainer, jockey, 



and vet. alike. To get back at, to 
satirise, call to account. Get back 
into your box I an injunction to silence, 
Stow it! (q.v.). To get encored, to 
have a job returned for alterations. 
To get even with, to take one's revenge, 
give tit for tat. To get it, to be 
punished (morally or physically), to 
be called over the coals. To get off, 
to (1) escape punishment, be let off ; 
(2) to utter, deliver oneself of, per- 
petrate as to get off a joke ; and (3) 
get married. To get on, (I) to back a 
horse, put a Bit on (q.v.). (2) To 
succeed, or, simply, to fare. Thus, 
How are you getting on ? may signify 
( 1 ) To what extent are you prospering ? 
or (2) How are you doing ? To get one 
in the cold, to have at an advantage, 
be on the Windward side ( q. v. ). Have 
on toast (q.v.). To get one on, to 
land a blow. To get down fine (or 
close), to know all about one's ante- 
cedents ; and (police) know where to 
find one's man. To get over, to seduce, 
fascinate, dupe : also To come over and 
To get round. To get outside of, to 
eat or drink, accomplish one's pur- 
pose. To get out of bed on the wrong 
aide, to be testy or cross-grained. 
[A corruption of an old saying, To rise 
on the right side is accounted lucky ; 
hence the reverse meant trials to 
temper, patience, and luck.] (1607). 
To get out (or round), to back a horse 
against which one has previously laid, 
Hedge (q.v.). To get set, (1) to warm 
to one's work, get one's eye well in. 
To get there, to attain one's object, 
succeed, make one's Jack (q.v.), 
To get there with both feet, to be very 
successful ; (2) to get drunk : see 
Screwed. To get through, to pass an 
examination, to accomplish. To get up 
and dust, to depart hastily : see Ske- 
daddle. To get up behind (or get 
behind) a man, to endorse or back a 
bill. To get up the mail, to find 
money (as counsel's fees, etc.) for 
defence. Oct enters into many other 
combinations : see Back teeth, Bag or 
Sack, Bead, Beans, Beat, Big bird, and 
Goose, Big head, Billet, Bit, Boat, 
Bolt, Books, Bulge, Bullet, Bull's 
feather, Crockette, Dander and Mon- 
key, Dark, Drop, Eye, Flannels, Flint, 
Game, Grand Bounce, Gravel - rash, 
Grind, Grindstone, Hand, Hang, Hat, 
Head, Hip or Hop, Home, Horn, Hot, 
Jack, Keen, Length of one's foot, 

Measure, Mitten, Needle, Religion, 
Rise, Run, Scot, Swot or Scrape, Set, 
Shut of, Silk, Snuff, Straight, Sun, 
Ticket of Leave, Wool, Wrong box.] 

Getaway. A locomotive or train, 
Puffer (q.v.). 

Getter. A sure getter, a procreant 

Get-up. Drees, constitution 
and appearance, disguise : see Get-up. 
As verb, phr., (1) to prepare (a part, 
a paper, a case) ; (2) to arrange (a 
concert) ; (3) to dress (as Got up 
regardless (to the nines, knocker, 
to kill, within an inch of one's life) ; 
(4) to disguise (as a sailor, a soldier, 
Henry VIII., a butcher, a nun) : see 
also Get into. 

G.H. See George Home. 

Ghastly. Very : a popular inten- 
sitive : cf. Awful, Bloody, etc. 

Ghost. One who secretly does 
artistic or literary work for another 
who takes the credit and receives the 
price : cf. DeviL [The term was 
popularised during the trial of Lawes 
v. Belt in 188(?).] As verb, to prowl, 
spy upon, shadow (q.v.). The ghost 
walks (or does not walk), there is (or is 
not) money in the treasury. The 
ghost of a chance, the faintest likeli- 
hood, or the slightest trace : e.g. He 
hasn't the ghost of a chance. 

Ghoul. 1. A spy ; specifically a 
man who preys on married women 
who addict themselves to assignation 
houses. 2. A newspaper chronicler of 
the small talk and tittle-tattle. 

Gib. 1. Gibraltar : once a penal 
station : whence, 2. a gaol. To hang 
one's gib, to pout : see Jib. 

Gibberish (Gebberish, Gibberidge, 
Gibrige, etc. ). Originally the lingo of 
gipsies, beggars, etc. Now, any kind 
of inarticulate nonsense (1594). 

Gibble-gabble. Nonsense, Gibber- 
ish (q.v.) (1600). 

Gib-cat. A tom-cat. [An ab- 
breviation of Gilbert^ 0. FT., Tibert 
the cat in the fable of Reynard the 
Fox.] (1360). 

Gibe. To go well with, be accept- 

Gibel. To bring. 

Gib-face. A heavy jowl, Ugly-mug 

Giblets. 1. The intestines gen- 
erally, the Manifold (q.v.). 2. A fat 
man, Forty-guts (q.v.) : also Duke of 
Giblets. To fret one's giblets: see Fret. 




Gibraltar. A party stronghold : 
e.g. the Gibraltar of Democracy 

Gibson (or Sir John Gibson). 
A rest to support the body of a build- 
ing coach. 

Gibus. An opera, or crush hat : 
Fr., accordeon. [From the name of the 

Giddy. Flighty, wanton : e.g. 
To play the giddy goat, to live a fast 
life, be happy-go-lucky. 

Giffle-gaffle. Nonsense ; a variant 
of Gibble-gabble (q.v.). 

Gif-gaf (or Giff-gaff). A 
bargain on equal terms : whence the 
proverb : Gif-gaf makes guid friens : 
Fr., Posse-mot la casse et je t'enverrai 
la senne. 

Gift. 1. Anything lightly gained 
or easily won. 2. A white speck on 
the finger nails, supposed to portend 
a gift. 3. See Gift-house. As full of 
gifts as a brazen horse of farts, mean, 
miserly, disinclined to Part (q.v.). 
Gift of the gab : see Gab. 

Gift-house (or Gift). A club, 
a house of call ; specifically for the 
purpose of finding employment, or 
providing allowances to members. 

Gig (Gigg, Gigge). 1. A wanton, 
mistress, flighty girl : cf. Giglet. 2. 
A jest, piece of nonsense, anything 
fanciful or frivolous : hence, generally, 
in contempt (1590). 3. The nose : see 
Conk. To snitcheU the gig, to pull the 
nose. Grunter's gig, a hog's snout. 
4. A light two-wheeled vehicle drawn 
by one horse : now recognised. 5. A 
door : see Gigger. 6. A fool, an over- 
dressed person : see Buffle. 7. Fun, 
frolic, a spree. Full of gig, full of 
laughter, ripe for mischief. 8. The 
mouth : see Potato-trap. 9. A far- 
thing : see Rhino. 10. See Policy 
dealing. As verb, to hamstring. By 
gigs ! an oath (1551). 

Gigamaree. A thing of little 
worth, a pretty but useless toy, a 
Gimcrack (q.v.). 

Gigantomachize. To rise in revolt 
against one's betters : Gr., Oiganto- 
machia, the War of the Giants against 
the Gods. [Probably a coinage of 
Ben Jonson's.] 

Gigger. LA sewing machine. 
[In allusion to noise and movement). 
2. See Jigger. 

Giggles - nest. Have you found a 
giggles-nest ? Asked of one tittering, 

or given to immoderate or senseless 

Gig - lamps. 1. Spectacles : see 
Barnacles. 2. One who wears spec- 
tacles, a Four eyes (q.v. ). [Popularised 
by Verdant Green.] 

G i g 1 e r (Giglet, Goglet, Gigle, 
Gig). A wanton, a mistress. 
Giglet (West of England), a giddy, 
romping girl ; and in Salop a flighty 
person is called a Giggle (1533). As 
adj., loose in word and deed : also 
Giglet-like, and Giglet-wise, like a 
wanton (1598). 

Gild. To make drunk, flush with 
drink (1609). To gild the, pill, to say 
(or do) unpleasant things as gently 
as may be, impose upon, Bamboozle 

Gilded-rooster. A man 
of importance ; a Howling swell (q.v.) ; 
sometimes the Gilded rooster on the 
top of the steeple : cf. Big- bug, Big 
dog of the tanyard, etc. 

G i 1 d e r o y 's -k i t e. To be hung 
higher than GUderoy's kite, to be 
punished more severely than the very 
worst criminals, The greater the 
crime the higher the gallows, was at 
one time a practical legal axiom. 
Hence, out of sight, completely gone. 

Giles' Greek. See St. Giles' 

G i 1 g u y. Anything which hap- 
pens to have slipped the memory ; 
equivalent to What's - his - name or 

Gilkes. Skeleton keys (1610). 

Gill (or Jill). 1. A girl ; (1) a 
sweetheart : e.g. every Jack must have 
his Gill ; (2) a wanton, a strumpet (an 
abbreviation of Gillian) (1586). 2. 
a drink, a Go (q.v. ). 3. (in pi. g hard). 
The mouth, jaws, or face : see Potato- 
trap (1622). 4. in. pi. A very large 
shirt collar ; also Stick-ups and Side- 
boards: Fr., cache-bonbon- d-liqueur. To 
grease the gills, to have a good meal, 
to Wolf (q.v.). To look blue (queer, or 
green) about the gill-s, to be downcast, 
dejected ; also to suffer from the 
effects of a debauch. Hence, con- 
versely, To be rosy about the gills, 
to be cheerful. A cant (or dig) in the 
gills, a punch in the face. 

Gill-flirt. A wanton, flirt (1598). 

Gilly. A fool : see Buffle. 

Gilly - gaupus. A tall, loutish 

Gilt. 1. Money : generic : see 




Rhino. [Ger. : Geld ; Du. : Gelt.] 2. 
A thief, pick-lock; also Gilt- (or rum-) 
clubber, gilter, etc. 3. Formerly a 
pick-lock or skeleton key ; now a 
crow-bar: see Jemmy (1671). To 
take the gilt off the gingerbread, to 
destroy an illusion, discount heavily. 

Gilt-dubber. See Gilt, sense 2. 

Gilt - edged. First-class, the best 
of its kind : see Fizzing. 

Gilter. See Gilt, sense 2. 

Gilt-tick. Gold : see Rhino. 

G i m b a 1- (or gimber-) jawed. 
Loquacious, talking Nineteen to the 
dozen (q.v.). [Gimbals are a com- 
bination of rings for free suspension.] 

Gimcrack (Gincrack, or Jim- 
crack). 1. A showy simpleton, 
male or female : see Buffle (1618). 2. 
A showy trifle, anything pretty but of 
little worth (1632). 3. A handy man, 
Jack - of - all - trades (q.v.). As adj., 
trivial, showy, worthless. 

Gimcrackery. The world of Jim- 
crack (q.v.). 

Gimlet-eye. A squint-eye, 
Piercer (q.v.) : Fr., des yeux en trou de 

Gimlet-eyed. Squinting, or 
squinny-eyed, cock-eyed : as in the 
old rhyme : Gimlet eye, sausage nose, 
Hip awry, bandy toes. 

G i m m e r. An old woman : a 
variant of cummer. 

Gin. 1. An Australian native 
woman. 2. An old woman : see Geezer. 
To gin up, to work hard, make things 
Hum (q.v.): see Wire in. 

Gin - and - Gospel Gazette. The 
Morning Advertiser : as the organ of 
the Licensed Victualling and Church 
of England party : also the Tap-tub 
and Beer-ana- Bible Gazette. 

Gin - and - tidy. Decked out in 
best bib and tucker : a pun on neat 

Gin-crawl. A tipple (q.v.) on gin. 

Gingambobs (or Jiggumbobs). 
Toys, baubles (1696). 

Ginger. 1. A showy horse, a 
beast that looks Figged (q.v.). 2. 
A red-haired person ; Carrota (q.v.). 
[Whence the phrase, Black for beauty, 
ginger for pluck.] 3. Spirit, dash, 
Go (q.v.). To want ginger, to lack 
energy and Pluck (q.v.). As adj., 
red-haired, Foxy (q.v.), Judas-haired 
(q.v.); also ginger-pated, ginger- 
hackled, and gingery (1785). 

Gingerbread. 1. Money: e.g. He 

has the gingerbread, he is rich (1696). 
2. Brummagem (q.v.), showy, but 
worthless ware. As adj. showy 
but worthless, tinsel : Fr., en pain 
d"epice. Gingerbread work (nauti- 
cal), carved and gilded decorations ; 
Gingerbread quarters (nautical), lux- 
urious living (1757). To take the gilt 
off the gingerbread : see Gilt. 

Gingerly (old : now recognised) 
delicate, fastidious, dainty, as adv., 
with great care, softly (1533). 

Ginger - pop. 1. Ginger- beer. 2. 
(rhyming), A policeman, Slop (q.v.). 

Ginger-snap. A hot-tempered per- 
son, especially one with carroty hair. 

Gingham. An umbrella ; speci- 
fically one of this material : see Mush- 

Gingle - boy. A coin ; latterly a 
gold piece : also ginglers : see Rhino 

Gin-lane (or Trap). 1. The throat: 
see Gutter-alley. Gin- trap also = the 
mouth: see Potato-trap (1827). 2. 
Generic for drunkenness. 

Gin-mill. A drinking saloon : see 

Ginnified. Dazed, stupid with 

Ginnums. An old woman : spec, 
one fond of drink. 

Ginny. A housebreaker's tool ; an 
instrument to lift up a grate or grating 

Gin-penny. Extra profit : gener- 
ally spent in drink. 

Gin-slinger. A tippler on gin : see 

Gin - spinner. A distiller; a 
dealer in spirituous liquors : cf. Ale- 
spinner (1785). 

Gin-twist. A drink composed of 
gin and sugar, with lemon and water 

Gip. 1. A thief. 2. (Cambridge 
University) a college servant : see 


Girl-and-boy. A saveloy. 

Girl-getter. A mincing, womanish 

Girl - show. A ballet, burlesque, 
Leg-j>iece (q.v.). 

Git ! (or You Git ! ) Be off with you ! 
an injunction to immediate departure, 
Walker ! (q.v.). Sometimes a con- 
traction of Get out ! Also Get out 
and dust (1851). To hare no git up 
and git, to be weak, vain, mean, slow 
generally deprecatory. 




Give. 'l^To lead to, conduct, open 
upon : e.g. The door gave upon tiie 
streji. Cf. French, aonner. (> Ah 
aff round auxiliary to active verbs : 
e.g. To give on praying, to excel at 
prayer ; To give on the make, to be 
clever at making money, etc. To give 
it to, (1) to rob, defraud (Grose) ; (2) to 
scold, thrash : also To give what for, 
To give it hot, To give something for 
oneself, To give one in the eye, etc. : 
Fr., oiler en donner (1612). To give 
in (or out), to admit defeat, yield, be 
exhausted throw up the sponge 
(1748); to give away, to betray or 
expose inadvertently, Blow upon 
(q.v.), Peach (q.v.) : also to Give 
dead away : largely used in com- 
bination : e.g. give-away, an ex- 
posure ; give-away cue, an underhand 
revelation of secrets ; to give one best, 
(1) to acknowledge inferiority, defeat : 
also (thieves') to leave, To cut (q.v.) ; 
to give the collar, to seize, arrest, 
Collar (q.v.) : see Nab ; to give the 
bullet (sack, bag, kick-out, pike, road, 
etc. ), to discharge from an employ ; 
give us a rest ! cease talking ! an in- 
junction upon a bore ; to give, nature, a 
fillip, verb. phr. (old), to indulge, in 
wine, etc. (1696). Other combina- 
tions will be found under the following ; 
Auctioneer, Back cap, Bag, Bail, 
Baste, Beans, Beef, Biff, Black eye, 
Bone, Bucket, Bullet, Bull's feather, 
Clinch, Double, Fig, Gas, Go by, 
Gravy, Hoist, Hot beef, Jesse, Ken- 
nedy, Key of the Street, Land, Leg 
up, Lip, Miller, Mitten, Mouth, 
Needle, Office, Points, Pussy, Rub of 
the thumb, Sack, Sky-high, Slip, 
Tail, Taste of Cream, Turnips, Weight, 
White alley, Word. 

Giver. A good boxer, an artist in 
punishment (q.v.) (1824). 

G i x i e. A wanton, strumpet, 
affected mincing woman (1598). 

Gizzard. To fret one's gizzard, to 
worry ; To stick in one's gizzard, to 
remain as something unpleasant (dis- 
tasteful or offensive), be hard of 
digestion, disagreeable or unpalat- 
able ; To grumble in the gizzard, to be 
secretly displeased ; Hence, Grumble- 
gizzard (q.v.). 

Gladstone. 1. Cheap claret (Mr. 
Gladstone, when in office in 1869, 
reduced the duty on French wines) : 
see Drinks. 2. A travelling bag 
(named in honour of Mr. Gladstone). 

Gladstonize. To talk about and 
round, evade, prevaricate, speak 
much and mean nothing. 

Glanthorne. Money : see Rhino. 

Glasgow Greys. The 70th Foot, 
now the 2nd battalion East Surrey 
regiment : in the beginning it was 
largely recruited in Glasgow. 

Glasgow Magistrate. A herring, 
fresh or salted, of the finest (from 
the practice of sending samples to the 
Bailie of the River for approval) : also 
Glasgow bailie. English synonyms 
(for herrings generally); Atlantic 
ranger, Californian, Cornish duck, 
Digby chicken, Dunbar wether, gen- 
darme, Gourock ham, magistrate, 
pheasant, (or Billingsgate pheasant), 
reds, sea-rover, soldier, Taunton 
turkey, two-eyed steak, Yarmouth 
capon : Fr., gendarme. 

Glass. An hour : an abbreviation of 
hour-glass. There's a deal of glass 
about, (1) applied to vulgar display, 
It's the thing (q.v.) ; (2) said in answer 
to an achievement in assertion : a 
memory of the proverb, People who 
live in glass houses should not throw 
stones. Who's to pay for the broken 
glass ? (stand the racket) ; been 
looking through a glass, drunk : see 

Glass-eyes. A man wearing spec- 
tacles, Four-eyes (q.v.), Gig-lamps 
(q.v.) (1811). 

Glass-house. To live in a glass 
house, to lay oneself open to attack 
or adverse criticism. 

Glass-work. An obsolete method 
of cheating at cards : a convex mirror 
the size of a small coin was fastened 
with shellac to the lower corner of the 
left palm opposite the thumb, enabling 
the dealer to ascertain by reflection 
the value of the cards he dealt. 

Glaze. A window (1696). As 
verb, to cheat at cards by means of 
glass-work (q.v.), or by means of a 
mirror at the back of one's antagonist. 
To mill (or star a glaze), to break a 
window (1823) ; on the glaze, robbing 
jewellers' shops by smashing the 
windows: see Glazier (1724). 

Glazier. 1. The eye : see Glims : Fr., 
les ardents ( 1567). 2. A window thief : 
see Thief. 

Gleaner. A thief (q.v.): cf. 
Hooker, Angler, etc. 

Glib. The tongue : e.g. Slacken 




your glib, loose your tongue : aee 
Clack. 2. A ribbon (1754). As adj., 
smooth, slippery, voluble ; Ql\b- 
tongued (or Glib-gabbit), talkative, 
ready of speech (1605). 

Glibe. Writing ; spec, a written 

Glim (or Glym). 1. A candle, dark 
lanthorn, fire, or light of any kind. 
To douse the glim, to put out the light : 
FT., estourbir la cabande ; also short for 
Glimmer or Glymmar(q.v.)( 1696). 2. 
A sham account of a fire, sold by the 
Flying stationers (q.v.). 3. In pi., the 
eyes. English synonyms : blinkers, 
daylights, deadlights, glaziers, lights, 
lamps, ogles, optics, orbs, peepers, 
sees, squmters, toplights, windows, 
winkers. 4. In. pi., a pair of spectacles, 
Barnacles (q.v.). As verb, to brand, 
burn in the hand (1696). To puff 
the glims, to fill the hollow over the 
eyes of old horses by pricking the skin 
and blowing air into the loose tissues 
underneath, thus giving the full effect 
of youth. 

Glim-fenders. 1. Andirons, fire- 
dogs (1696). 2. Handcuffs (a pun on 
sense 1). 

G 1 i m fl a s h 1 y (or Glim-flashey ). 
Angry : see Nab the Rust (1696). 

Glim - jack. A link boy, Moon- 
curser (q.v.) ; but, in any sense, a 
thief (1696). 

Glim -lurk. A beggars' petition, 
based on a fictitious fire or Glim 
(sense 2). 

Glimmer (Glymmar). Fire. 

Glimmerer. A beggar working 
with a petition giving out that he is 
ruined by fire : also Glimmering mort, 
a female glimmerer (1696). 

Glimstick. A candlestick : Fr., 

Glister. Glister of fish hooks, a 
glass of Irish whisky. 

Glistner. A sovereign : 20s. : see 

Gloak (or Gloach). A man : see 
Chum and Cove. 

Globe. 1. A pewter pot, pewter 
(1704). 2. In. pi., the paps: see 

Globe-rangers. The Royal Marines. 

Globe-trotter. A traveller ; prim- 
arily one who races from place to place, 
with the object of covering ground 
or making a record : Fr., pacquelineur. 
Whence, Olobe-trotting, travelling after 
the manner of Globe-trotters (q.v.). 

G 1 o p e (Winchester College). To 
spit : obsolete. 

Glorious. Excited with drink, 
in one's altitudes, Boozed : see Screwed 

Glorious-sinner. A dinner. 

Glory. The after life, Kingdom 
come (q.v.): usually, the coming 
glory. In one's glory, in the full flush 
of vanity, pride, taste, notion, or idio- 

Gloves. To go for the gloves, to bet 
recklessly, bet against a horse without 
having the wherewithal to pay if one 
loses the last resource of the plung- 
ing turfite : the term is derived from 
the frequent habit of ladies to bet in 
pairs of gloves, expecting to be paid if 
they win, but not to be called upon to 
pay if they lose. 

Glow. Ashamed. 

Glue. Thick soup : which sticks 
to the ribs. English synonyms: de- 
ferred stock, belly-gum, giblets-twist, 
gut-concrete, rib-tickler, stick-in-the- 

Glue - pot A parson : see Devil- 
dodger and Sky-pilot (1785). 

Glum. Sullen, down in the mouth, 
stern : Fr., faire son nez, to look glum ; 
also, n'en pas mener large (1712). 

Glump. To sulk : hence glumpy, 
glumping, and glumpish, sullen, 
stubborn (1787). 

Glutman. An inferior officer of 
the Customs, and particularly a super- 
numerary tide waiter, employed temp- 
orarily when there is a stress or 
hurry of business. These glutmen were 
generally without regular employment, 
and also without character, their prin- 
cipal recommendation the fact of being 
able to write (1797). 

Glutton. 1. A horse which lasts 
well, Stayer (q.v.). 2. A pugilist who 
can take a lot of punishment (q.v.). 

Gnarler. A watch dog. 

Gnasp. To vex: see Rile. (1728). 

Gnoff. See Gonnof. 

Gnostic. A knowing one, Downy 
cove (q.v.), Whipster (q.v.) (1819). As 
adj., knowing, Artful (q.v.) ; whence 
Qnostically, knowing. 

Go. 1. A drink ; specifically a 
quartern of gin : formerly Go-down 
(1690). English synonyms: bender, 
caulker, coffin nail, common - sewer, 
cooler, crack, cry, damp, dandy, dash, 
dewhank, dewdrop, dodger, drain, 
dam, facer, falsh, gargle, gasp, go- 




down, hair of the dog, etc., Johnny, 
lip, liquor up, livener, lotion, lounce, 
modest quencher, muzzier, nail from 
one's coffin, night-cap, nip or nipper, 
nobbier, old crow, a one, a two, or a 
three out, peg, pick-me-up, pony, 
quencher, reviver, rince, sensation, 
settler, shift, shove in the mouth, 
slug, small cheque, smile, snifter, 
something damp, something short, 
swig, thimbleful, tiddly, top up, tot, 
warmer, waxer, wet, whitewash, yard. 

2. An incident, occurrence : e.g. a 
Rum go, a strange affair, queer start ; 
a Pretty go, a startling business ; a 
Capital go, a pleasant business (1803). 

3. The fashion, the Cheese (q.v.), the 
correct thing : generally in the phrase 
All the go. 4. Life, spirit, energy, 
enterprise, impetus : e.g. Plenty of 
go, full of spirit and dash : Fr., du 
chien (1825). 5. A turn, attempt, 
chance : cf. No go : hence, to have a go 
at, to make essay of anything : as a 
man in a fight, a shot at billiards, etc. 
6. A success : hence To make a go of it, 
to bring things to a satisfactory termin- 
ation. 7. The last card at cribbage, or 
the last piece at dominoes : when 
a player is unable to follow the lead, 
he calls a Go ! 8. A dandy (q.v.), a 
very heavy swell, one in the extreme 
of fashion. As verb, (1) to vote, be 
in favour of : cf. Go for ; (2) to succeed, 
achieve, cf. Go down ; (3) to wager, 
risk : hence to stand treat, afford 
(1768) ; (4) to ride to hounds ; (5) to be 
pregnant, to be anticipating child- 
birth (1561). Phrases: Go down, (1) 
to be accepted, received, swallowed, to 
Wash (q.v.) (1609) ; (2) to be under 
discipline, rusticated ; (3) to become 
bankrupt ; also, To go under ; To go 
due north, to go bankrupt (i.e. to go 
to White-cross Street Prison, once 
situate in north London) ; to go on 
the dub, to house-break, pick locks 
(1696) ; to go to the dogs, to go to ruin ; 
to go off on the ear, to get angry, fly into 
a tantrum : see Nab the rust ; to go for, 
(1) to attempt, tackle, resolve upon, 
to make for (q.v.) ; (2) to attack vio- 
lently and directly, by word or deed ; 
(3) to support, favour, vote for ; (4) 
to criticise ; specifically, to run down ; 
to go in for (or at), to enter for, apply 
oneself to (e.g. to go in for honours) ; 
also to devote oneself to (e.g. to pay 
court), to take up (as a pastime, pur- 

'.t, hobby, or principle) ; to go it, to 

act with vigour and daring, advocate 
or speak strongly, live freely : also to 
go it blind, fast, bald-headed, strong, 
etc. (1689). As intj. phrase, Keep 
at it ! keep it up ! a general (some- 
times ironical) expression of encourage- 
ment : also Go it ye cripples, crutches 
are cheap ! (or Newgate's on fire), Go 
it, my tulip, Go it, my gay and festive 
cuss ! (Artemus Ward), or (Ameri- 
can), Go it boots ! go it rags ! I'll hold 
your bonnet ! g'lang ! (usually to a 
man making the pace on foot or horse- 
back) ; to go out, to fall into disuse ; 
to go over, ( 1 ) to desert from one side to 
another : specifically (clerical) to join 
the Church of Rome, to 'Vert (q.v.) ; (2) 
to die, i.e. to go over, to join the 
majority : also to go off, to go off the 
hooks (go under, go aloft, to go up) ; 
(3) to attack, rifle, rob ; to go off, 
(1) to take place, occur; (2) to be 
disposed of (as goods on sale, or a 
woman in marriage) ; (3) to deteriorate 
(as fish by keeping, or a woman with 
years) ; (4) to die : see Hop the twig 
(1606) ; Go as you please, applied to 
races where competitors run, walk, 
or rest at will : e.g. in time and 
distance races : hence, general freedom 
of action ; to go to Bath, Putney, etc. 
(see Bath, Blazes, Hell, Halifax, etc.) ; 
to go through, to rob : i.e. to turn 
inside out : hence, to master violently 
and completely, make an end of ; to 
go up (or under), (1) to go to wreck and 
ruin, become bankrupt, disappear 
from society ; also (2) to die ; to go up, 
to die ; specifically to die by the rope ; 
to go up for, to enter for (as an exam- 
ination) ; to go with, to agree, har- 
monise with ; on the go, on the move, 
restlessly active ; no go, of no use, 
not to be done, complete failure : 
frequently contracted to N.G. ; a 
little bit on the go, slightly inebriated, 
elevated : see Screwed. For other 
combinations see Abroad, All fours, 
Aloft, Aunt, Baby, Back on, Bad, 
Bail, Baldheaded, Bath, Batter, Bed- 
fordshire, Beggar's bush, Better, 
Blazes, Blind, Board, Bodkin, Bulge, 
Bungay, Bury, Bust, By-by, Call, 
Camp, Chump, College, Cracked, 
Dead broke, Devil, Ding, Ding-dong, 
Dock, Doss, Drag, Flouch, Flue, 
Gamble, Glaze, Glory, Gloves, Grain, 
Grass, Ground, Hairyfordshire, Hall, 
Halves, Hang, Hell, High fly, High 
toby, Hooks, Hoop, Jericho, Jump, 




Kitchen, Man, Majority, Mill, Murphy, 
Pace, Pieces, Pile, Pot, Queen, Raker, 
Range, Rope-walk, Salt river, Shallow, 
Shop, Slow, Smash, Snacks, Snooks, 
Spout, Star - gazing, Sweet violets, 
Top, Walker's 'bus, West, Whole 
animal, Woodbine, Woolgathering, 

Goad. 1. A decoy at auctions, a 
horse- c haunter, a Peter funk (q.v.). 

2, In pi., false dice. 

Goal (Winchester College). (1) 
At football the boy who stands at the 
centre of each end, acting as umpire ; 
and (2) the score of three points made 
when the ball is kicked between his 
legs, or over his head, without his 
touching it. 

Coaler's Coach. See Gaoler's 

Go - along. A fool, Flat (q.v.) : 
see Buffle. 

Goat. A lecher (1599). As verb, 
to thrash. To play the goat, to play 
the fool, Monkey (q.v.) : Fr., jaire 
Voiseau ; to ride the goat, to be initiated 
into a secret society (the vulgar error 
is that a live goat, for candidates to 
ride, is one of the standing properties 
of a Masonic lodge). 

Goatee. A tufted beard on the 
point of a shaven chin (in imitation 
of the tuft of hair on a goat's chin). 
English synonyms (for a beard gener- 
ally): charley, imperial, Newgate (or 
sweep's) frill, or fringe. 

Goater. Dress. 

Goatish adj. (old, now recog- 
nised). Lecherous [as vicing with a 
goat in lust.] Hence Goatishly, adv., 
and Ooatishness, subs. 

Go-away. A railway-train. 

Gob (or Gobbett). 1. A portion, 
mouthful, a morsel ; also a gulp, 
Bolt (q.v.) (1380). 2. The mouth: 
e.g. Shut your gob, an injunction 
to silence : see Gab ; a spank on the 
gob, a blow on the mouth ; gob-full of 
claret, a bleeding at the mouth ; gift 
of the gab (or gob) : see Gab. (1696.) 

3. A mouthful of spittle: Fr., copeau: 
It., tmalzo di cavio (gutter-butter). As 
verb, (1) to swallow in mouthfuls, 
gulp down: also Gobble (q.v.). (2) 
to expectorate : Fr., glaviotcr, molar der. 

Gobbie. A coastguardsman ; 
whence gobble - ship, a man-of-war 
engaged in the preventive service. 

Gobble (or Gobble-up). To swallow 
hastily or greedily ; hence (American) 

to seize, capture, appropriate : also 
gob: e.g. Gob that! (1602). 

Gobbler. 1. A duck (Harmon) ; 
2. A turkey cock, Bubbly-jock (q.v.) : 
also Gobble -cock (1785). 3. The 
mouth : see Potato-trap. 4. A greedy 
eater ; hence gobbling, gorging. 

Go - between. A pimp or bawd : 
now an intermediary of any kind 

Goblin. A sovereign, 20s. : see 

Gob-box. The mouth : see Potato- 
trap (1773). 

Gob-stick. A silver table-spoon 
(in America, either spoon or fork) ; 
also (nautical), a horn or wooden 

Gob - string (or Gab-string). A 
bridle (Orose). 

Go-by. The act of passing, an 
evasion, a deception. To give one 
the go-by, to cut, leave in the lurch. 

Go-by-the-ground. A dumpy man 
or woman (Orose). 

God. 1. In pi., the occupants of a 
theatre gallery (said to have been first 
used by Garrick because they were 
seated on high, and close to the sky- 
painted ceiling : Fr., paradis, also 
poulaiUer (1772). 2. In pL, Quadrate 
used in Jeffing (q.v.). 3. A block 
pattern. Gods of cloth, classical 
tailors (Orose). 4. A boy in the sixth 
form (Eton). A tight for the gods, a 
matter of wonderment ; God pays ! an 
expression at one time much in the 
mouth of disbanded soldiers and 
sailors (who assumed a right to live 
on the public charity) : the modern 
form is, If I don't pay you, God Al- 
mighty will (1605); God (or Bramah) 
knows, I don't ; an emphatic rejoinder 

Goddess Diana. A sixpence, 
Tanner (q.v.) : see Rhino. 

Godfather. A juryman (1598). 
To stand Godfather, to pay the reckon- 
ing (godfathers being the objects of 
much solicitude and expectation) 

Go-down. 1. A draught of liquor, 
Go (q.v.). 2. (American), a cutting 
in the bank of a stream for enabling 
animals to cross or to get to water. 

God-permit. A stage coach (which 
was advertised to start Deo volente) 

God's-mercy. Ham (or bacon) and 
eggs (There's nothing in the house but 




God's mercy : at one time a common 
answer in country inns to travellers in 
quest of provant). 

God's-penny. An earnest penny 

Go-easter. A portmanteau, 
Peter (q.v.) (because seldom used 
except in going city- or east-wards). 

Goer. 1. The foot : see Creepers, 
2. An expert or adept ; as in drawing, 
talking, riding ; one well up to his 
(or her) work : generally with an ad- 
jective, as e.g. a fast goer, a good 

Goff. See Mrs. Goff. 

Goggles. 1. A goggle-eyed person : 
also Goggler (1647). 2. In pi. The 
eyes : also Goggle-eyes. Goggle-eyed, 
squint-eyed (1598). 3. In pi. spec-, 
tacles, Barnacles (q.v.). As verb 
(Goggle), to roll the eyes, stare (1577). 

Gogmagog. A goblin, monster, a 
frightful apparition (Hood). 

Going. The condition of a road, 
piece of ground, cinder-path : i.e. the 
accommodation for travelling : e.g. 
the going is bad. 

Goings - on. Behaviour, proceed- 
ings, conduct : cf. Carryings on. 

Goldarned (Goldurned, Gol- 
dasted, etc.). A mild form of oath. 

Gold-backed 'Un. A louse : also 
Grey-backed 'un : see Chates. 

Gold-bug. A man of wealth and 
(inferentially) distinction, a million- 
aire : see Bug. 

Gold-dropper. A sharper : an old- 
time worker of the confidence trick : 
also Gold-finder (1696). 

Golden-cream. Rum. 

Gold-end Man. An itinerant jewel- 
ler, a buyer of old gold and silver : 
also Goldsmith's apprentice (1610). 

Golden Grease. A fee, a bribe : see 
Palm oil. 

Goldfinch. 1. A well-to-do man, 
a Warm 'un (q.v.) (1696). 2. A 
guinea, a sovereign; see Rhino (1700). 

Gold - finder. 1. An emptier of 
privies : also Gong-man, and Night- 
man: Pr., fouillemerde, fifi (1611). 2. 
A thief, Gold-dropper (q.v. ) : see Thief. 

Gold Hat - band. A nobleman 
undergraduate, Tuft (q.v.) (1628). 

Goldie - locks. A flaxen - haired 
woman. Ooldu-locked, golden haired 

Gold Mine. A profitable investment, 
store of wealth material or intel- 
lectual (1664). 

Golgotha. 1. The Dons' gallery at 
Cambridge ; also applied to a certain 
part of the theatre at Oxford (that is, 
The place of skulls : cf. Luke xxiii. 33, 
and Matthew xxvii. 33, whence the 
pun : Dons being the heads of houses) 
(1730). 2. A hat. English synonyms : 
battle of the Nile (rhyming, i.e. a 
tile (q.v.), bell-topper, bUly-cock, 
beaver, box-hat, cady, canister cap, 
castor, chummy, cathedral, chimney, 
chimney-pot, cock, colleger, cock-and- 
pinch, cowshooter, David, deer-stalker, 
digger's delight, fantail, felt, Gibus, 
gomer (Winchester), goss, moab, 
molocher, mortar-board, muffin-cap, 
mushroom, nab, nap, napper, pantile, 
pimple-cover, pill-box, plug-hat, pot, 
shako, shovel, sleepless hat, sou'- 
wester, stove-pipe, strawer, thatch, 
tile, topper, truck, upper-crust, wash- 
pot, wee-jee, wide-awake. 

Goliath. 1. A big man. .2. A man 
of mark among the Philistines (q.v.). 
[Mr. Swinburne described the late 
Matthew Arnold as David, the son 
of Goliath.] 

Goll. The hand ; usually in pi. 
See Daddle (1601). 

G o 1 1 o p. To swallow greedily, 
gulp : see Wolf. 

Gollumpus. A clumsy lout 

Golly. A contraction of By 
Golly ! (q.v.). 

Goloptious (or Golopshus). 
Splendid, fine, delicious, luscious. 

Gombeen-man. A usurer, money- 
lender, sharking middleman. 

Gomer (Winchester College). 1. 
A large pewter dish used in college. 
Also, 2. A new hat. 

Gommy. A dandy : Fr., gommeux. 
2. One who calls Mr. Gladstone a 
G.O.M. [Grand Old Man], and thinks 
he has made a good joke. 3. A fool : 
see Buffle. 

Gomus. A fool : see Buffle. 

Gondola. 1. A railway plat- 
form car, sideless or low-sided : also a 
flat-bottomed boat. 

Gondola of London. A hansom 
cab, Shoful (q.v.). [The description 
is Lord Beaconsfield's.] 

Gone. 1. Ruined, totally undone : 
also, adv., an expression of complete- 
ness : e.g. Gone beaver, corbie, 
coon, gander, or goose, a man or an 
event past praying for (1406). Gone 
on, enamoured of, infatuated with, 



Mashed v on T ( q.v.), Sweet on (q.v.): 
generally in contempt : Fr., aimer 
comme sea petite boyaux. 

Goner (Gones, Gonus, or Goney). 
1. A fool, simpleton ; also Gauney 
(q.v.) : see Buffle. 2. A person past 
recovery, utterly ruined, or done for 
in any way. 

Gong (or Gong-house). A privy : 
see Airs. Jones. 

Gong-farmer (or Gong-man). 
An emptier of cess-pools, Gold-finder 
(q.v.) (1598). 

G o n o f (Gonnof, Gonoph, or 
Gnof). 1. A thief (q.v.) ; specifically 
a pick - pocket, and especially an 
adept. [Prom the Hebrew. Ancient 
English ; a legacy from the old time 
Jews. It came into use again with 
the moderns who employ it commonly. 
Cf. gonov, thief in Ex. xxii. 2 and 6, 
viz. If the gonov be found.] 2. A 
bumpkin, churl, clumsy hand, shame- 
less simpleton (1383). As verb, to 
wheedle, cheat, steal Hence, gonoph- 
ing, picking pockets. 

Gooby. A simpleton, blockhead: 
see Buffle. 

G o o d 1 An abbreviation of 
Good-night ! As adj., responsible, 
solvent : principally with for ; e.g. 
He is good for any amount : also, 
expert (1598). Good goods, in pi., 
something worth trying for, a success : 
in superlative, best goods. Bit (or 
piece) of goods, a woman : see Petti- 
coat. Good old ... A familiar 
address, derisive or affectionate ac- 
cording to circumstances. To fed 
good, to be jolly, comfortable, in form, 
on perfect terms with oneself ; to 
be in one's good books, to be in favour, 
in good opinion : conversely, to be in 
one s bad books, to be in disfavour ; 
good at it (or at the game), an expert, 
male or female ; to have a good swim : 
Bee Swim ; for good (or for good 
and all), completely, entirely, finally 
(1672); good as wheat: see Wheat; 
good as a play : see Play ; good as gold, 
very good ; as good as they make 'em, 
see Make 'em ; good-bye, John, it's no 
go ; all's U.P. ; good cess, good luck 
(probably an abbreviation of success : 
bad cess, the reverse. 

Goodfellow (Good-boy, or Good- 
man). 1. A roysterer, a boon com- 
panion(1570). 2. A thief (q.v.) (1608). 

Good Girl (or Good One). A 
wanton (1611). 

Goodman. 1. A gaoler, Dubs- 
man (q.v.) (1721). 2. The devil. 

Goodman - turd. A contemptible 
fellow, Bad-egg (q.v.) (1598). 

Good Night! The dovetail to an 
incredible statement or surprising 
piece of news. 

Good-people. The fairies (1828). 

Good (or Good old) Sort. A 
man of social or other parts. 

Good Thing. Something worth 
having or backing, a bon mot, Good 
goods (q.v.) : in racing a Cert (q.v.) 

Good Time. A carouse, friendly 
gathering, enjoyable bout at any- 
thing. Hence, To have a good time, 
to be fortunate or lucky, enjoy oneself, 
make merry (1596). 

Good 'un. 1. A man, woman, or 
thing of decided and undoubted 
merit. 2. An expression of derisive 
unbelief : e.g. a lie. 

Good-wooled. Of unflinching cour- 
age, the greatest merit, thoroughly 

Goody. 1. A matron : the corre- 
lative of goodman, husband : used 
like auntie, mother, and gammer, in 
addressing or describing an inferior 
(1598). Hence goodyship, ladyship. 
2. A religious hypocrite male or 
female, the 'unco guid' of Burns; hence 

oody - goodyism, sentimental piety. 
. Generally in pi., sweetmeats, bon- 
bons, cakes and Duns. 4. The kernel 
of a nut. As adj., well-meaning but 
petty, officiously pious : also Goody- 

G o o k. A low prostitute : see 

Goose. 1. A tailor's smoothing 
iron (whose handle is shaped like the 
neck of the bird) : hence the old ditton, 
A tayler be he ever so poor is sure to 
have a goose at his fire (Grose) : Fr., 
gendarme (1606). 2. A simpleton: 
usually only of women : also Goose- 
cap (q.v.) (1591). 3. A reprimand, 
Wigging (q.v.). 4. See Wayz goose. 
5. A woman. As verb, ( 1 ) to hiss, con- 
demn by hissing : also to get the goose 
or the big bird (q.v.) : Fr., appeler (or 
siffler) Azor (to whistle a dog, Azor 
being a common canine appellation), 
boire une govtte (to be goosed) ; (2) to 
ruin, spoil : see Cook one's goose ; 
(3) to mend boots by putting on a i 
front half-way up, and a new bottom ; 
otherwise to L foot boots : cf. Fo 




Goose without gravy, a severe but 
bloodless blow : see Wipe ; to be tound 
on the goose, before the civil war, to be 
sound on the pro-slavery question ; 
now, to be generally staunch on party 
matters, to be politically orthodox ; to 
find fault with a fat goose, to grumble 
without rhyme or reason (1690); to 
kill the goose for the golden eggs, to 
grasp at more than is due, over-reach 
oneself (from the Greek fable) ; every- 
thing is lovely and the goose hangs 
high : see Everything ; he*tt be a man 
among the geese when the gander is 
gone, ironical, He'll be a man before 
his mother ; Go I shoe the goose, a retort, 
derisive or incredulous, the modern 
To hell and pump thunder. Unable 
to say boh ! to a goose, said of a bashful, 
person (Orose) ; see also Wild - goose 

Goose-and-gridiron. The American 
eagle, and the United States flag : see 

Gooseberry. 1. A fool : see Buffle. 
2. A chaperon, one who takes third 
place to save appearances or play 
propriety (q.v.), a daisy- or goose- 
berry-picker. 3. A marvellous tale, 
a Munchausen (q.v.), flim-flam : also 
gigantic and giant gooseberry. Hence 
Gooseberry season, the dull time of 
journalism, when the appearance of 
monstrous vegetables, sea serpents, 
showers of frogs, and other portents 
is chronicled in default of news : 
also Silly season (q.v.). To play (or 
do) gooseberry, to play propriety ; also 
to sit third in a hansom : cf . Bodkin ; to 
flay old gooseberry, to play the deuce, 
upset, spoil, throw everything into 
confusion ; also (Lex. Bal.), said of a 
person who, by force or threats, sud- 
denly puts an end to a riot or dis- 
turbance ; Old gooseberry, the devil 
(see Skipper). 

Gooseberry-eyed. Grey-eyed (Lex. 
Bal., 1811). 

Gooseberry-grinder. The breech. 

Gooseberry - lay. Stealing linen 
from a line. 

Gooseberry - picker. 1. A person 
whose labour profits, and is credited 
to, another, a Ghost (q.v.). 2. A 
chaperon : see Gooseberry. 

Gooseberry-pudding. A woman : 
see Petticoat. 

Gooseberry-wig. A large frizzled 
wig; Perhaps (Orose) from a supposed 
likeness to a gooseberry bush. 

Goosecap. A booby male or 
female, Noodle (q.v.) : see Buffle 

Goose-egg. No score, Love (q.v.): 
also Gooser. 

Goose-flesh (or Goose-skin). 
A peculiar tingling of the skin pro- 
duced by cold or fear, etc., the sensa- 
tion described as Cold water down the 
back, the Creeps (q.v.) (1824). 

Goose - gog (or Goose - gob). A 

Goose - month. The lying - in 
month : cf. Gander-month. 

Goose-persuader. A tailor : see 

Gooser. 1. A settler, knock- 
out blow, the act of death. 2. No 
score, a Goose-egg (q.v.). 

Goose-riding. See Gander-pulling. 

Goose's Gazette. A lying story, 
flim-flam tale : that is, a piece of 
reading for a goose. 

Goose-shearer. A beggar. 

Goose-step. 1. Balancing 
on one foot and moving the other 
back and forwards without taking a 
step : a preliminary in military drill, 
the pons asinorum of the raw recruit. 
Also, 2. (more loosely) marking time : 
that is, lifting the feet alternately 
without advancing. 

Goose - turd Green. A light 
yellowish green (Cotgrave). 

Goosey - gander. A fool : see 

Gopher. 1. A young thief ; 
spec, a boy employed by biirglars to 
enter houses through windows, sky- 
lights, etc. (in natural history, Gopher, 
a burrowing squirrel). 2. A rude 
wooden plough : Southern! States. 

G o r e e. Money ; spec, gold or 
gold-dust : Fort Goree is on the Gold 
Coast : see Rhino (1696). 

Gorge. 1. A heavy meal, Tuck- 
in (q.v.), Blow-out (q.v.) (1553). 2. 
A theatrical manager : an abbrevia- 
tion of Gorger (q.v.). As verb, to eat 
voraciously ; also to gulp as a fish does 
when it swallows (or gorges) a bait : 
see Wolf (1572). 

Gorger. 1. A voracious eater, 
Scruncher (q.v.). Rotten gorger, a 
lad who hangs about Covent Garden or 
other markets, eating refuse fruit. 2. 
A well-dressed man, a gentleman : FT., 
un grating. Gipsy, gorgio, gentle 
men.] 3. An employer : a principal : 
spec, the manager of a theatre : also 


Gorgonzola Hall. 


Cully-gorger : Fr., amendicr. 4. A 
neckerchief (1320). 

Gorgonzola Hall. Formerly the 
New Hall of the Stock Exchange ; now 
the corporation generally. [From the 
veinings of the marble.] 

G o r m. To Gorge (q.v.) : see 
Wolf. I'm gormed, a profane oath : 
see Gaum (1849). 

Gormagon. 'A monster with 
six eyes, three mouths, four arms, 
eight legs, five on one side and three 
on the other, three arses, two tarses, 
and a cunt upon its back: a man on 
horseback with a woman behind him ' 

Gormy-ruddles. The intestines. 

Gorram (or Goram). See By 

Gorry. See By Gorry ! 

Goschens. The 2} per cent 
Government Stock created by Mr. 
Goschen in 1888. 

Gosh. See By gosh. 

Gospel. I. Anything offered 
as absolutely true : also Gospel-truth. 
To do gospel, to go to church. 

Gospel - gab. Insincere talk con- 
cerning religion, cant. 

Gospel-grinder (postilion, sharp, 
or shark). A paison, devil-dodger, 

Gospeller. An Evangelist 
preacher : in contempt : also Hot- 
gospeller, a preaching fanatic. 

Gospel-mill (or shop). A church 
or chapel, Doxology - works (q.v.) 

G o s s (or Gossamer). A hat : 
at first a make of peculiar light- 
ness called a Four-and-nine (q.v.) : 
occasionally, a white hat : see Gol- 
gotha (1836). To give (or get) goss, to 
requite an injury, kill, go strong, get 
an opportunity, put in big licks (q.v.) : 
sometimes ejaculatory, as Give me 
goss and let me rip ! 

Gossoon. A boy : Fr., garron. 

Gotch-gutted. Pot-bellied; a 
gotch in Norfolk, signifying a pitcher 
or large round jug (Grose). 

Got 'em bad. A superlative of 
earnestness or excess : e.g. any one 
doing his work thoroughly, a horse 
straining every nerve, a very sick 
person, spec, a subject of the Horrors 

Got 'em on (all on). Dressed 
in the height of fashion, rigged out. 

Goth. A frumpish or uncultured 

person ; one behind the times or 
ignorant of the ways of society (171-'). 
Hence Gothic, rustic, rude, uncultnro'l. 

Gotham. New York city : 
hence, Gothamite, a New Yorker : 
first used by Washington Irving in 
Salmagundi (1807). 

Go - to - meeting bags (clothes, 
dress, etc.). Best clothes : as worn 
on Sundays, or holiday occasions 

Gouge. An imposture, swindle, 
method of cheating (1845). As verb, 
( 1 ) to defraud ; also (2) to squeeze out 
a man's eye with the thumb, a cruel 
practice used by the Bostonians in 
America (Orose). 

Gouger. A cheat, swindler, rook. 

Gourd. Hollow dice filled with 
lead to give a bias (1544). 

Gourock ham. A salt herring 
(Gourock was formerly a great fishing 
village) : see Glasgow Magistrate. 

Government-man. A convict. 

Government - securities. Hand- 
cuffs, fetters generally : see Darbies. 

Government - signpost The gal- 
lows: see Nubbing-cneat 

Governor (or Guv). 1. A father, 
relieving officer, old 'un, pater, nibso : 
also applied to elderly people in 
general : Fr., gtniteur and Fancien 
(the old 'un) (1836). 2. A mode 
address : Fr., bourgeois. 3. A master < 
superior, an employer. English 8} 
onyms: boss, captain, chief, color 
commander, head-cook and bot 
washer, gorger, omee, rum-cull. 

Governor 's-stiff. A pardon. 

Gower-street Dialect See ~ ' 

Gowk. A simpleton (Scot 
Gowk, a cuckoo) : see Buffle. Also 
countryman : see Joskin. To hit 
the gowk, to go on a fool's errand. 

Gowler. A dog ; spec, a howler. 

Gown (Winchester College) 

1. Coarse brown paper : obeolet 

2. (University). The schools as 
tinguished from the Town (q.v.) : e.j 
Town and gown. Hence, 

a student 

Grab. 1. A sudden clutch. 
A robbery, steal (q.v.): cf. Grab-s 

3. A body - steaJer, resurrectac 
(q.v.). 4. A boisterous game 
cards. As verb, (1) to pinch (q.v. 
seize, apprehend, snatch or 
Grabbed, arrested (1811); (2) to 
on, get along, live. 



Grab-all. 1. An avaricious 
person, greedy-guts (q.v.). 2. A bag 
to carry odds and ends parcels, 
books, and so forth. 

Grabber. In pi., the hands : 
see Daddle. 

Grabble. To seize, grab (q.v.) 

Crabby. An infantry - man : 
in contempt by the mounted arm : 
Fr., marionnette. 

Grab-gains. The trick of snatch- 
ing a purse, etc., and making off. 

Grab - game (coup, or racket). 
A mode of swindling : the sharpers 
start by betting among themselves ; 
then the bystanders are induced to 
join, stakes are deposited, and lastly, 
there is a row, when one of the gang 
grabs the stakes and decamps. 

Grace - card. The six of hearts 
(for origin see N. and Q., 5th Series, 
iv. 137). 

Gracemans. Gracechurch Street 
Market (1610). 

Graduate. 1. A horse that has been 
2. An adept, artful member 
(q.v.). As verb, to seek and acquire 
experience in life, love, society, or 
rade ; and so on. 

Gradus. A mode of cheating : 
particular card is so placed by the 
luffler that when he hands the pack 
be cut, it projects a little beyond 
lie rest ; the chance being that it forms 
lie turn-up. Also called the step 

Gradus - ad - parnassum. The 
eadmill : see Wheel-of-life. 
Graft. Work, employment, lay 
(q.v.) : e.g. what graft are you on 
low ? Great-graft, profitable labour, 
1 biz (q.v.). As verb, (1) to work : 
bausser, membrer ; (2) to steal ; 
(3) to cuckold, plant horns (1696) ; (4) 
sole old boots : cf. Goose and 

Grampus. A fat man : see Forty- 
its. To blow the grampus, to drench ; 
Iso to sport in the water. 
Grand. Short for grand piano, 
adj., a general superlative. To do 
; grand, to put on airs. 
Grand Bounce. See Bounce. 
Grandmother. To see one's 
indmother, to have a nightmare. 
I'o shoot one's grandmother, to be 
listaken, find a mare's nest, be 
lisappointecl : commonly, You've shot 
jrour grannie. To teach owe'a grand- 

mother (or grannie) how to suck eggs, 
to instruct an expert in his own 
particular line of business, Vtalk old 
to one's seniors (1811). My Grand- 
mother's Review, the British Review : 
the nickname was Lord Byron's. 

Grand -strut. The Broad Walk 
in Hyde Park (1823). 

Granger. 1. A member of the 
Farmers' Alliance ; a secret American 
society, nominally non- political, but 
really taking a hand in politics when 
occasion offered to favour agricultural 
interests : during the decade of years 
ending 1870 it attained to great 
numerical strength, and extended 
throughout the United States : see 
Agricultural wheel. 2. Hence, a 
farmer, countryman, any one from 
the rural districts. 

Grangerise. To fill out a book 
with portraits, landscapes, title-pages, 
and illustrations generally, not done 
for it. Hence Grangerism, the prac- 
tice of illustrating a book with 
engravings, etc., from other sources : 
from the practice of illustrating 
Granger's Bibliographical History of 
England. Also Grangerite, a practi- 
tioner in Grangerism. 

Grannam. Corn (1563). 

Grannam 's-gold. Inherited wealth. 

Granny. 1. A bad knot with the 
second tie across ; as opposed to a reef 
knot in which the end and outer part 
are in line : also Granny's knot or 
Granny's bend. 2. Conceit of super- 
ior knowledge. As verb, to know, 
recognise, swindle (1851). 

Grape-shot. Drunk : see Screwed. 

Grape-vine. A hold in wrestling. 

Grape - vine Telegraph. News 
mysteriously conveyed : during the 
civil war bogus reports from the 
front were said to be by the grape-vine 
telegraph : also clothes-line telegraph. 

Grapple. The hand : also 
grappler : see Daddle. 

Grapple-the-rails. Whisky : see 
Drinks (1783). 

Grappling - irons (or hooks), 

1. Handcuffs: see Darbies (1811). 

2. The fingers : see Fork : also grap- 
plers and grappling-hooks. 

Grass (Royal Military Academy). 
1. Vegetables : bunny - grub : Fr., 
gargousses de la canonniere. 2. 
Fresh mint (American). 3. Short for 
sparrow-grass (q.v.), asparagus. 4. 
A temporary newspaper hand ; hence 




the proverb, A grass on news waits 
dead men's shoes (Australian printers). 
Grass-hand, a raw worker, green hand. 
As verb, to throw (or be thrown), 
bring (or be brought) to ground : 
hence, to knock down, defeat, kill. 
To give grata, to yield ; to go to grass, 

(1) to abscond, disappear: also to 
hunt grass ; (2) to fall sprawling, be 
ruined, die; (3) to waste away (as 
of limbs) ; to hunt grass (1) to decamp ; 

(2) to field, to hunt leather (q.v.) ; 

(3) to fall, go to ground ; hence, to be 
puzzled or bewildered ; to cut one's 
own grass, to earn one's own living ; 
to be sent to grass, to be rusticated, 
receive a travelling scholarship (q.v.) ; 
go to grass I be off ! You be hanged f 
to let the grass grow under one's feet, 
to proceed or work leisurely : Fr., 

Grass - comber. A countryman 
shipped as a sailor. 

Crasser. A fall. 

Grasshopper. 1. A waiter in a 
tea-garden. 2. A policeman, copper 
(q.v.). 3. A thief (q.v.) 

Grassing. Casual work away 
from a printing office. 

Grassville. The country ; cf . 

Grass - widow. 1. An unmarried 
mother, a deserted mistress (1696). 
2. A married woman temporarily 
separated from her husband. [The 
usually accepted derivation that 
grass is Fr., grdce, is doubtful. Hall 
(says J. C. Atkinson, in Glossary of 
Cleveland Words) gives as the defini- 
tion of this word, An unmarried 
woman who has had a child ; in 
Moor's Suffolk Words and Phrases, 
Grace-widow, A woman who baa had 
a child for her cradle ere she has had 
a husband for her bed; and corre- 
sponding with this is the N. 8. or Low 
Ger., gras-wedewe. Again, Sw. D., 
gras - anka, or -enka grass - widow, 
occurs in the same sense as with us : 
A low, dissolute, unmarried woman 
living by herself. The original mean- 
ing of the word seems to have been A 
woman whose husband is away, 
either travelling or living apart. The 
people of Belgium call a woman of this 
description haeck-wedeive, from haecken, 

to feel strong desire It seems 

probable, therefore, from the ety- 
mology, taken in connection with the 
Clcvel, signification, that our word 

may rather be from the Scand. source 
than from the German ; only with a 
translation of the word enka into its 
English equivalent. Dan. D., grots- 
enka, is a female whose betrothed 
lover (fast man) is dead ; nearly 
equivalent to which is German, 
strohwittwe, literally straw - widow. 
See N. and Q., 6 8 viii., 268, 414 : x. 
333, 436, 526; xi. 78, 178.] English 
synonyms : Calif ornian widow, widow- 
bewitched, wife in water colours 

Grass - widower. A man away 
from his wife. 

Gravel. 1. To confound, puzzle, 
floor (q.v.). 2. To go against the 

Gravel-crusher. A soldier doing 
defaulter's drill. 

Gravel - grinder. A drunkard : 
see Lushington. 

Gravel - rash. The lacerations 
caused by a fall To have the gravel 
rash, to be reeling drunk : see Screwed. 

Gravesend-bus. A hearse. 

Gravesend- sweetmeats. Shrimps. 

Gravesend - twins. Solid lumps 
of sewage. 

Grave - yard. The mouth : see 
Potato-trap. To keep a private grave- 
yard, to affect ferocity, bluster. 

Gravy - eye. A derisive epithet : 
e.g. Well Old gravy -eye. 

Crawler. A beggar : see Cadger. 

Gray. 1. A coin showing either 
two heads or two tails, pony (q.v.) 
(1828). 2. See Grayback. 3. In pL, 
yawning, listlessness : cf. Blues. 

Grayback. 1. A louse : 
Scots Greys : Fr., grenadier : 
Chates. 2. A Confederate soldier: 
from the colour of the uniform : 

Gray-beard. 1. An old man: 
mostly in contempt (1593). 2. Origin- 
ally a stoneware drinking jug ; now 
a large earthenware jar for hold- 
ing wine or spirits : with a bearded 
face in relief. 

Gray-cloak. An alderman above 
the chair : his proper robe is a cloak 
furred with grey amis. 

Gray-goose. A big field stone on 
the surface of the ground (1816). 

Grayhound. 1. A fast Atlant 
liner ; one especially built for speed : 
also ocean grayhound. 2. (Cam- 
bridge University). A member 
Clare College, a Clarian (obsolete). 




Gray - mare. A wife ; spec, one 
wearing the breeches (q.v.) (1546). 

Gray-parson (or Gray-coat 
parson). A lay impropriator, or 
lessee of tithes (Grose). 

Grease. 1. A bribe, palm- 
oil (or grease), boodle (q.v.): greasing, 
bribing. 2. Well-paid work, fat 
(q.v.): printers'. 3. Fawning, flat- 
tery. As verb, (1) to bribe, corrupt 
by presents, tip (q.v.): also, to 
grease the fist, hand, or palm : Fr., 
coquer la boucanade (1557). (2) To 
fawn, to flatter : formerly, to grease 
one's boots ( 1598). (3) To gull, cheat, 
do (q.v.). To grease a fat sow, to 
bribe a rich man (Grose) ; to grease 
one's gills, to make a good or luxuri- 
ous meal. 

Greased Lightning. An express 
train. Like greased lightning, very 

Greaser. 1. A Mexican ; also 
a Spanish American. The Mexicans 
are called greasers from their greasy 
appearance, by the Western people 
(Buzton) : Greasers, Californian slang 
for a mixed race of Mexicans and 
Indians (Bret Harte). 2. In pi. 
(Royal Military Academy), fried pot- 
atoes, as distinguished from boilers, 
boiled potatoes. To give one 
greaser (Winchester College), to rub 
the back of the hand hard with the 

Grease-spot. The imaginary 
result of a passage at arms, physical 
or intellectual (1844). 

Greasy - chin. A dinner (Grose). 

Great Cry and Little Wool. See 

Great Go (or Greats). The 
final examination for the B.A. degree 
at Cambridge : cf. Little-go : at 
Oxford, Greater. 

Great Gun. 1. A person of dis- 
tinction, a thing of importance. 
English synonyms : big bug, big dog of 
the tanyard, big dog with the brass 
collar, big gun, big head, big one, 
big (or great) pot, big wig, biggest 
toad in the puddle, cock of the walk, 
don, large potato, nob, rumbusticator, 
stunner, swell, swell-head, topper, 
top-sawyer. 2. A peculiar practice, 
trick of particular usefulness and 
importance, favourite wheeze (q.v.). 
To blow great guns, to blow a gale ; 
also, to blow great guns and small 
arms (1839). 

Great-house. See Big House. 

Great- Joseph. An overcoat. 

Great Scott 1 An exclamation 
of surprise an apology for an oath : 
possibly a memory of the name of 
Gen. Winfield Scott, a presidential 
candidate whose dignity and style 
were such as to win him the nickname 

Great Shakes. See Shakes. 

Great Smoke. London. 

Great Sun. An exclamation. 

Great - unwashed. The lower 
classes, the rabble : also the un- 
washed : first used by Burke ; popul- 
arised by Scott. 

Great Whipper-in (The). Death, 
>Old floorer (q.v.). 

Grecian. 1. A roysterer, Greek 
(q.v.). 2. (Christ's Hospital). A senior 
boy. 3. An Irishman. Hence Grecian 
accent, a brogue. 

Grecian-bend. An affected 
stoop in walking (1821) : cf. Alexandra 
limp, Roman fall, Italian wriggle, 
Kangaroo droop. 

Greed. Money : see Rhino. 

Greedy-gut (or guts). A 
voracious eater, a glutton : as in the 
old (schoolboys') rhyme : Guy-hi, 
Greedy-gut, Eat all the pudding up : 
Fr., un glafdtre (1598). 

Greek. 1. Slang, or Flash (q.v.) ; 
usually St. Giles' Greek (q.v.): cf. 
Cant, Gibberish, etc. 2. A card- 
sharper, cheat (1528). 3. An Irish- 
man (1823). 4. A gambler; also a 
highwayman. Merry Greek, a roy- 
sterer, drunkard (Cotgrave) (1602). 

Greek-fire. Bad whisky, 
rotgut (q.v.). 

Greek Kalends. Never. To 
defer to the Greek Kalends, to put off 
sine die : the Greeks used no kalends 
in their reckoning of time (1649). 
English synonyms : in the reign of 
Queen Dick, when the devil is bund, 
when two Sundays come in a week, 
at Domesday, at Tib's eve, one of 
these odd-come-shortly's, when the 
ducks have eaten up the dirt, when 
pigs fly, in a month of Sundays, once 
in a blue moon. 

Green. Rawness, simplicity. 
Generally in the phrase, Do you see 
any green in my eye ? Do you take me 
for a fool ? As adj., simple, in- 
experienced, gullible, unsalted (q.v.) 
(1596). As verb, to hoax, swindle: 
at Eton to green up : see Gammon. 




To send to Dr. Green, to put out to grass 
(1811). 8" dp me greens I (or taturs /) 
a veiled oath of an obscene origin. 
Just for greens, for no reason in 

G r e e n-a p r o n. A lay preacher : 
also as adj. 

Green-back. 1. A frog. 2. 
One of Todhunter's series of mathe- 
matical text-books : bound in green 
cloth : cf. Blue-ruin. 3. The paper 
issue of the Treasury of the United 
States ; first sent out in 1862 during 
the civil war, the backs are printed 
in green. Hence green - backer, an 
advocate for an unlimited issue of 
paper money. 

Green-bag. A lawyer ; robes and 
briefs were carried in a green bag ; the 
colour is now blue, or, in cases of 
presentation from seniors to juniors, 
red (1696). English synonyms: black 
box, bramble (provincial), devil's 
own, gentlemen of the long robe, land- 
shark, limb of the law, mouth-piece, 
Philadelphia lawyer (q.v.), quitam, six 
and-eightpence, snipe, sublime rascal. 

Green-bonnet. To have (or 
wear) a green bonnet, to fail in busi- 
ness, go bankrupt : a green cloth cap 
was once worn by bankrupts. 

Green Cheese. See Cream Cheese 
and Moon. 

Green Cloth. See Board of 
Green Cloth. 

Green Dragoons. The Fifth 
Dragoon Guards ; also known as the 
Green Horse : from their green 

Greener. A new, or raw hand ; 
spec, an inexperienced workman intro- 
duced to fill the place of a striker. 

Green-goods. Counterfeit 
greenbacks ; hence green-goods man 
(or operator), a counterfeiter of green- 
backs, snide-pitcher (q.v.). 

Green -goose. 1. A cuckold. 2. 
A prostitute. 

Green - gown. To give a green 
gown, to rough and tumble with a 

Green - head. A greenhorn : see 
Buffle (1696). 

Greenhorn (Green-head, or 
Greenlander). A simpleton, fool, 
gull (q.v.) ; also a new hand : see 
Buffle. To come from Greenland, to be 
fresh to things, raw (q.v.) ; Green- 
lander, sometimes an Irishman (1753). 

Greenhouse. An omnibus. 

Green Howards. The Nine- 
teenth Foot, now the Princess of 
Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment: 
from its facings and its Colonel's 
name (1738-48), and to distinguish it 
from the Third Foot, also commanded 
by, a Col. Howard. Also Howard's 

Green Kingsman. A silk pocket- 
handkerchief : any pattern on a 
green ground. 

Green Linnets. The 39th Foot, 
now the first battalion Dorsetshire 
Regiment : from the facings. 

Greenly. Like a greenhorn, 
foolishly (1596). 

Greenmans. 1. The fields, the 
country (1610). 2. In sing., a con- 
tractor who speculates with other 
people's money. 

Greenness. Immaturity of 
judgment, inexperience, gullibility 

Green-rag. See Greeny. 

Green-river. To send a man up 
Green-river, to kill : from a once famous 
factory on Green River, where a 
favourite hunting knife was made. 

Green-sickness. Chlorosis. 

Green - turtle. To live up to 
green-turtle, to do, and give, one's 

Greenwich Barber. A retailer of 
sand from the Greenwich pits : a pun 
upon shaving the banks (Grose). 

Greenwich - goose. A pensioner 
of Greenwich Hospital (Grose). 

Greeny. 1. The curtain : from 
the colour : also green-rag (1821). 2. 
A freshman (q.v.). 3. A simpleton, 
greenhorn (q.v.) : see Buffle. 

Greetin* Fu'. Drunk: literally 
crying drunk : see Screwed. 

G r e e z e (Westminster School). 
A crowd, push (q.v.). 

Gregorian. A kind of wig worn 
in the 17th century : after the inventor 
one Gregory, a barber in the Strand. 

Gregorian - tree. The gallows : 
there was a sequence of three 
men of the name : see Nubbing-cl 

Gregorine. A louse ; specifically 
head vermin : see Chates. 

Greshamite. A fellow of the '. 
Society (1690). 

Grey. See Gray, paseim. 

Griddle. To sing in the street 
Whence, griddling, street-singing ; 
griddler, a street singer (1851). 

Gridiron. 1. The United St 




flag ; the Stars and Stripes : also 
Gridiron and Doughboys ; also speak- 
ing of the Eagle in conjunction with 
the flag, the Goose and Gridiron. 2. 
A County Court Summons : originally 
applied to writs of the Westminster 
Court, the arms of which resemble a 
gridiron (1859). 3. The bars on a 
cell window : Fr., ler gaules de Schtard. 
The Gridiron, the Graf ton Club: the 
grill was a speciality. On the gridiron, 
troubled, harassed, in a bad way, on 
toast (q.v.). The whole gridiron: see 
Whole animal. 

Grief. To come to grief, to come to 
ruin, meet with an accident, fail. 

Griffin (or Griff). 1. A new- 
comer, raw hand, greenhorn (q.v.). 
Specific uses are (Anglo-Indian), a 
new arrival from Europe ; (military), 
a young subaltern ; (Anglo-Chinese), 
an unbroken horse. Griffinage (or 
Griffinism), the state of greenhornism 
(1859). 2. A woman of forbidding 
manners or appearance, a Gorgon : 
also a caretaker, chaperon, or sheep- 
dog (q.v. ). [A reflection of the several 
griffins of ornithology and of heraldry : 
the former a feeder on birds, small 
mammals, and even children ; the 
latter (as in Milton) a perfection of 
vigilance.] 3. A signal : e.g. to tip 
the griffin, to warn, give the office 
(q.v.), or tip (q.v.) ; the straight griffin, 
the straight tip. 4. In pi. the scraps 
and leavings from a contract feast, 
which are removed by the purveyor. 

Griff-metoll. Sixpence, a tanner 
(q.v.) : see Rhino (1754). 

Grig. 1. An active, lively, and 
jocose person : as in the phrase 
Merry as a Grig (1611). 2. A farthing, 
a gigg (q.v.) : see Rhino (1696). As 
verb, to vex, worry (1855). 

Grim. A skeleton : also Grin. 
Whence Old Mr. Grim, death. 

Grin. To strike on plates with 
knives and forks, beat with the feet, 
and shout at the top of the voice, in 
an effort to make the victim grin. To 
grin in a glass case, to be shown as an 
anatomical preparation : the bodies 
and skeletons of criminals were once 
preserved in glass cases at Surgeons' 
Hall (Grose). 

Grinagpg, the Cat's Uncle. 
A .grinning simpleton (Grose). 

Grind. 1. A walk, constitutional : 
e.g. to take a grind, or (University) 
to go on the Grandchester (or Gog 

Magog Halls) grind. 2. Daily routine, 
hard or distasteful work (1853). 3. 
Study, reading for an examination; 
also a plodding student, i.e. a grinder. 
4. A demonstration : as (1) a ' public 
grind,' given to a class and free to all ; 
and (2) a private grind, for which a 
student pays an individual teacher: 
in America, a quiz (q.v.). 5. (Oxford 
University) Athletic sports : also, 
a training run. The grind (Cambridge 
University), the ferry-boat at Chester- 
ton. As verb, (1) to prepare for 
examination, study, read, teach, in- 
struct, coach (q.v.), do a round of 
hard and distasteful work, apply one- 
self to daily routine ; (2) to vex, put 
out. To grind an axe, see Axe. To 
get a grind on one, to play practical 
jokes, tell a story against one, annoy 
or vex. To grind wind, to work the 
treadwill : see Everlasting staircase. 

Grinder. 1. A private tutor, 
Coach (q.v.) : cf. Crammer (1812). 2. 
Usually in pi., the teeth. English 
synonyms : bones, chatterers, cogs, 
crashing cheats, dining-room furni- 
ture (or chairs), dinner-set, dominoes, 
front-rails, Hampstead Heath (rhym- 
ing), head-rails, ivories, park-palings 
(or railings), snagglers, tushes (or 
tusks), tomb-stones (1597). To take 
a grinder, to apply the left -thumb to 
the nose, and revolve the right hand 
round it, as if to work a hand-organ 
or coffee-mill ; also to take a sight 
(q.v.), to work the coffee mill (q.v.) : 
a street retort on an attempt to impose 
on good faith or credulity (1836). 

Grinding - house. The House of 
Correction : see Cage (1614). 

Grinding-mill. The house of a 
tutor or coach (q.v.) where students 
are prepared for an examination. 

Grind-off (or Grindo). A miller : 
from a character in The Mitter and 
his Men. 

Grindstone. A tutor, a coach 
(q.v.). To bring (hold, put, or keep) 
one's nose to the grindstone, to oppress, 
harass, punish, treat harshly. To 
have one's nose kept to the grindstone, to 
be held to a bargain, or task (1578). 
To have the grindstone on one's back, 
said of a man going to fetch the 
monthly nurse (Grose). 

Grinning-stitches. Slovenly 
sewing, stitches wide apart, ladders 
Grip (or Gripsack). A hand-bag, 




satchell. To lose one's grip, to fail, 
lose one's control. 

Gripe. 1. A miser, usurer : 
also griper or gripe-fist (q.v.). Qrip- 
ing, extortion. 2. In pi., the colic, 
stomach ache, collywobbles : see 
Jerry-go-nimble (1684). 

Gripe-fist A miser, grasping 
broker : also gripe-penny. 

Grist. A large number or quan- 
tity : Swift uses grist, a supply ; a 
provision. To bnng grist to ike mill, 
to bring profitable business, be a source 
of profit (1719). 

Grit. 1. Character, pluck, spirit, 
sand (q.v.): also clear grit. No grit, 
lacking in stamina, wanting in courage 
(1826). 2. A member of the Liberal 
party (Canadian political). 

Gritty. Plucky, courageous, 
resolute, full of character. 

Grizzle. To fret ; also to grizzle 
one's guts. 

Grizzle -guts (Grizzle- or Glum- 
pot). A melancholy or ill-tempered 
person, sulking ton (q.v.). 

Groan er. A thief (q.v.) plying 
his trade at funerals or religious 

Groaning. The act of parturition : 
also adj., parturient, or appertaining 
to parturition: as in groaning -malt 
(Scots'), drink for a lying-in ; groaning 
pains, the pangs of delivery; groaning 
wife, a woman ready to lie-in (1594). 

Groats. A naval chaplain's 
monthly allowance. To save, one's 
groats, to come off handsomely : at 
the University nine groats were 
formerly deposited in the hands of an 
academic officer by every person stand- 
ing for a degree, which, if obtained 
with honour, were returned to him 

Grocery. 1. Small chance (1728). 
2. A drinking bar ; also confectionery 
and groggery. 3. Sugar : a restricted 
use of a colloquialism. 

Grog. Spirits and water, strong 
drink generally : till Admiral Vernon's 
time (1745) rum was served neat, but 
he ordered it to be diluted, and was 
therefore nicknamed Old Grog, in 
allusion to his grogram coat : a phrase 
that was presently adapted to the 
mixture he had introduced : Groggy, 
drunk : see Screwed. As verb, to 
dilute or adulterate with water. To 
have grog on board (or to be grogged), 
to be drunk : see Screwed. 

Grog-blossom. A pimple caused 
by excessive drinking : also copper- 
nose and jolly-nose : Fr., nez culottt, 
and nez de pompettes (1811). 

Grog-fight A drinking party : cf. 

Groggery. A public bar, grog 

Groggy. 1. Under the influence 
of drink: see Screwed (1829). 2. 
(stable) Moving as with tender feet 
3. (pugilists') Unsteady from punish- 
ment and exhaustion : Fr., locher 

Grogham. A horse, daisy- 
kicker (q.v.): now mostly in con- 
tempt: see Prad (Grose). 

Grog-shop. The mouth : see 
Potato-trap (1843). 

Grog-tub. A brandy bottle. 

Groom. A croupier. 

Groomed. See Well-groomed. 

Groovy. A sardine. As adj., 
settled in habit, limited in mind. 

Groper. 1. A blind man, Hood- 
man (q.v.) (1696). 2. A pocket 
(Grose). 3. A midwife, fingersmith 
(q.v.) (Grose). 

Ground. To suit down to the 
ground, to be thoroughly becoming or 
acceptable. To wipe (or mop) up the 
ground (or floor) with one, to adminis- 
ter the soundest of thrashings, prove 
oneself absolutely superior to one's 
opponent To go (or get) well to the 
ground, to defalcate, rear (q.v.) : see 
Mrs. Jones (1608). 

Grounder. A ball with a ground de- 
livery, sneak, grub ; and (in America) 
at base ball, a ball struck low, or 
flying near the ground. 

Ground-floor. To be let in on the 
ground-floor, to share in a specula- 
tion on equal terms with the original 

Ground-squirrel. A hog, grunter 
(Lex. Bal.). 

Ground-sweat. To have (or take) a 
ground-sweat, to be buried (1696). 

Grouser. 1. A grumbler rusty - 
gute (q.v.). 2. A rowing man, wet- 
bob (q.v.). 

G r o u t e (Marlborough and 
Cheltenham Colleges). To work or 
study hard, swot (q.v.). 

Grouty. Crabbed, sulky. 

Grove of the Evangelist St 
John's Wood ; also Apostle's Grove, 
and the Baptist's Wood. 

Grow. To be accorded the privi- 




lege of letting one's hair and beard 
grow : also to grow one's feathers. 

Growler. A four-wheeled cab : 
cf. Sulky. English synonyms : bird- 
cage, blucher, bounder, fever- trap, 
flounder - and-dab (rhyming), four- 
wheeler, groping hutch, mab (an old 
hackney), rattler, rumbler. To rush 
(or work) the growler, to fetch beer 

Grown -man's -dose. A lot of 
liquor: also a long drink (q.v.) : see 

^ Grown-up. An adult : also (under- 
takers') a grown (1864). 

Grub. 1. Food. English synonyms : 
belly-cheer (or chere), belly-furniture, 
belly- timber, Kaffir's tightener (speci- 
fically, a full meal), chuck, corn, 
gorge - grease, manablins (broken 
victuals), mouth harness, mungarly, 
peck, prog, scoff (S. African), scran, 
stodge, tack, tommy (specifically 
bread), tuck, yam. Also, verbally, to 
bung the cask, to grease the gills, to 
have the run of one's teeth, to yam. 

2. A short thick-set man, a dwarf : 
in contempt : see Hop-o'-my-Thumb. 

3. A sloven, generally of elderly people. 

4. A careful student, hard reader. 

5. Roots and stumps : whatever is 
grubbed up. 6. A ball delivered 
along the ground, grounder (q.v.), 
daisy-cutter (q.v.): see Lob-sneak. 
As verb, (1) to take or supply with 
food (1725). Whence grubbing, eat- 
ing. (2) To beg, ask alms, especially 
food. (3) To study, read hard, sweat 
(q.v.). To ride grub, to be sulky, 
crusty (q.v.), disagreeable (Grose). 
To grub along, to make one's way 
as best one can, rub along. 

Grubbery. (1) An eating-house: 
also (2) a dining-room, and (3) the 

Grubbing-crib. 1. An eat- 
ing-house. Orubbing-crib faker, the 
landlord of a cheap cookshop : Fr., 
nourrisseur. English synonyms : 
grubbery, grubby (or grubbing-ken), 
grub-shop, guttle-shop, hash-house, 
mungarly casa, prog-shop, slap-bang 
shop, tuck-shop, waste-butt. 2. A 
workhouse : sometimes Orubbiken : 
see Spinniken. 

Grubble. To feel for at random, 
or in the dark. 

Grubby. Food : a diminutive of 
grub (q.v.). As adj., dirty, slovenly. 

Grub-hunting. Begging for food. 

Grub - shop (crib, trap, etc.). 
1. The mouth ; and 2. a grubbery 
(q.v.) : see Potato-trap. 3. See Grub- 
bing-crib in both senses. 

Grub - stake. Food and other 
necessaries furnished to mining pro- 
spectors in return for a share in the 
finds. Hence, to grub-stake, to specu- 
late after this fashion. 

Grub Street. The world of cheap, 
mean, needy authors : originally a 
street near Moorfields, changed in 1830 
to Milton Street (1696). 

Gruel. 1. A beating, punish- 
ment (q.v.). Hence, to get (or give) 
one's gruel, to castigate, be well 
beaten, killed. In the prize ring, to 
knock a man out for good. Gruetted, 
floored; also gruetting (1815). 2. 

Crueller. A knock - down blow, 
settler (q.v.), a floorer (q.v.). 

Grumble - guts. An inveterate 
croaker: also grumble-gizzard. 

Grumbles. To be all on the 
grumbles, to be discontented, cross, on 
the snarley-yow (q.v.). 

Grumbletonian. A pattern of 
discontent, one ever on the grumble. 
Grumbleton (during the reigns of 
the later Stuarts), an imaginary centre 
of discontent ; hence, Grumbletonian, 
a nickname of the County party, dis- 
tinguished from the Court, as being in 
opposition.] (1690). 

Grumpy (or Grumpish). Surly, 
cross, angry. 

Grundy. A short fat man, forty- 
guts (q.v.) : see Mrs. Grundy. 

Grunter. 1. A pig, grunting- 
cheat (q.v.) : also pork (1656). 2. 
A sixpence : formerly (Grose) Is. : see 
Rhino. 3. A policeman, trap (q.v.): 
pig (q.v.). 4. A constant grumbler, 
grumble-guts (q.v.). 

Grunter 's - gig. A smoked pig's 
chap (Grose). 

Grunting-cheat. A pig (1567). 

Grunting-peck. Pork or bacon. 

Gruts. Tea. 

G. T. T. Gone to Texas : abs- 
conded ; moonshining gentry used 
to mark G. T. T. on the doors of their 
abandoned dwellings as a consolation 
for inquiring creditors : Fr., otter en 

Guage. See Gage. 

Gubbins. Fish offal (1611). 

Gudgeon. 1. A bait, an allure- 
ment : hence, to gudgeon (or to swallow) 




a gudgeon, to be extremely credulous 
or gullible (1598). 2. An easy dupe, 
buffle (q-v.) (1785).! * 

Guerrilla., This (name is applied 
by gamblers^ to fellows \ who skin 
suckers when 7 and where they can, 
who do not like the professional 
gamblers, but try to beat them, 
sometimes inform on them, and tell 
the suckers that they have been 
cheated (Matsell). 

Guff. Humbug, bluff, jabber : see 

G u ff y. A soldier : see Mud- 

G u i d e r s. 1. Reins, ribbons 
(q.v.). 2. Sinews, leaders (q.v.). 

Guinea. A guinea to a goose- 
berry, long odds. 

Guinea-dropper. A sharper : 
spec, one who let drop counterfeit 
guineas in collusion with a Gold- 
finder (q.v.) (1712). 

Guinea-hen. A courtezan (1602). 

Guinea - pig. 1. A general re- 
proach (1748). 2. Any one whose 
nominal fee for professional services 
is a guinea : as vets; special jurymen, 
etc. Now mainly restricted to clergy- 
men acting as deputies, and (in 
contempt) to directors of public 
companies : hence guinea - trade, 
professional services (1821). 3. A 

Guise's Geese. The Sixth Foot, or 
Saucy Sixth, now the Royal Warwick- 
shire Regiment : from >ts Colonel's 
name (1735-63). 

Guiver. 1. Flattery ; 2. Artfulness 
(q.v.). As adj., smart, fashionable, 
on it (q.v.). Quiver lad, a low- 
class dandy ; also an artful member 
(q.v.). As verb, to humbug, fool 
about (q.v.), show off. 

Gulf. 1. The throat, the maw: 
see Gutter-alley (1579). 2. (Cam- 
bridge Univ.). The bottom of a list 
of passes, with the names of those 
who only just succeed in 'getting their 
degree. 3. (Oxford Univ.). A man 
who, going in for honours, only gete 
a pass. As verb (Cambridge Univ.), 
to place in the gulf ; to be gulfed, to be 
on such a list : men so placed were 
not eligible for the Classical Tripos : 
cf. Pluck and Plough. 

Gulf-spin. A rascal, worth- 
less fellow, beat (q.v.), shyster 

Gull. 1. A ninny : see Buffle 

(1596). 2. A cheat, fraud, trick 
( 1 600). 3. (Oxford Univ. ). A swindler, 
trickster. As verb, to cheat, dupe, vic- 
timise, take in (q.v.) in any fashion 
and to any purpose (1596). Hence, 
gullible, adj., easily duped. 

G u 1 1 a g e. The act of trickery, 
the state of being gulled (1605). 

Gull-catcher (Culler, Gull- 
sharper, etc.). A trickster, cheat 

Gullery. Dupery, fraud, cheat's 

Gullet. The throat: see Gutter- 
alley (1383). 

Gull - finch. A simpleton, fool : 
see Buffle (1630). 

Gull-groper. A gamester's money- 
lender (1609). 

J Gully. 1. The throat : see Gutter- 
alley. 2. A knife: see Chive (1633). 
As verb, to gull (q.v.), dupe, 

Gully-fluff. Pocket-filth, beggar's 
velvet (q.v.) : also flue (q.v.). 

Gully-gut. A glutton : see 

Gully-hole (or Gully). The throat : 
see Gutter-alley. 

Gully -raker. (1) A cattle- whip; 
also (2) a cattle-thief. 

Gulpin. A simpleton, gape-seed 
(q.v.): Fr., gobemouche, eponge: see 

Gulpy. Easily duped. 

G u 1 s h. To hold one's gulsh, to 
hold one's tongue, keep quiet. 

Gum. 1. Chatter, talk, jaw (q.v.), 
abuse (1751). 2. A trick, piece of 
dupery, sell (q.v.): also gummation. 
3. A golosh, india-rubber overshoe : 
short for gum-shoes. As verb, to 
cheat, take in (q.v.), roast (q.v.), 
quiz : see Gammon. Old Mother Gum, 
an old woman : in derision. By 
gum ! a mild oath. Blest your (or 
his, her, its, etc.) gums, a piece of 
banter : a facetious way of saying 
Bless your soul ! 

Gummagy. Snarling : of a scolding 

Gummed. Said of a ball close to 
the cushion. 

Gummy. 1. A toothless person ; 
i.e. with nothing but gums to show : 
generally, Old Gummy. 2. Medicine : 
also gummy-stuff. 3. A dullard, fool : 
see Buffle. As adj., puffed, swollen, 
clumsy (Grose). To feel gummy, to 



Gump. A dolt : see Buffle (1825). 

Gumption. Cleverness, under- 
standing, nous (q.v.) : also rum 
gumption (Orose). 

Gumptious. Shrewd, intelligent, 

Gum - smasher (or Tickler). A 
dentist: snag-catcher (q.v.). 

Gum-suck. To flatter, humbug, 
dupe : see Gammon. 

Gum-sucker. 1. A native of Tas- 
mania, who owes his nickname to the 
abundance of gum-trees in the Tas- 
manian forests : cf. Corn-stalk. 2. 
A fool : see Buffle. 

Gum-tickler. 1. A drink : spec, 
drop of short, or a dram : see Go 
(1814). 2. See Gum-smasher. 

Gum-tree. To be up a gum-tree, to 
be on one's last legs, at the end of 
one's rope : He has seen his last gum- 
tree, It is all up with him. 

Gun. 1. A lie (New Cant Diet., 
1725). 2. A thief (q.v.); spec, a 
Magsman (q.v.) or street-artist : also 
gun-smith and gunner. Gunning, 
thieving. 3. A revolver : see Meat-in- 
the-pot. 4. A toddy glass. As verb, 
(1) to consider with attention. (2) To 
strive hard, make a violent effort : e.g. 
to gun a stock, to use every means to 
produce a break ; when supplies are 
heavy and holders would be unable to 
resist. In the gun, drunk : see Screwed 
(1696). Son of a gun: see Son. Sure 
as a gun, quite certain, inevitable 

Gundiguts. A fat man, forty- 
guts (q.v.) (1696). 

Gunner's-daughter. To kiss 
(or marry) the gunner's daughter, to be 
flogged. Gunner's daughter, the gun 
to which boys were lashed for punish- 
ment (Grose). 

Gunpowder. An old woman (1696). 

Gunter. See Cocker. 

Gup. Gossip, scandal. To be a 
gup, to be easy to take or steal. 

G u r t s e y. A fat man, podge 
(q.v.) : see Forty-guts. 

Gush. The expression of affected 
or extravagant sentiment. As verb, 
to overflow with extravagant or 
affected sentiment. Hence gusher, 
a practitioner of gush : also Gushing- 
tion ; gushing, extravagant, affected 
or irrational in expression, demonstra- 
tively affectionate : also gushingly. 

Gut. 1. The vice or habit of glut- 
tony ; the belly (as opposed to the 

groin). 2. In pi. the stomach and 
intestines (1609). 3. In pi. a fat 
man, forty-guts (q.v.) : also guts-and- 
garbage. More guts than brains, a 
fool (1598). 4. Spirit, quality, a 
touch of force, energy, or fire : e.g. 
a picture, a book, an actor. With 
guts, a strong thing ; put your guts 
into it (aquatic), row the very best 
you can. He (or it) has no guts in 
him (or it), he (or it) is a common 
rotter (q.v.). Hence, gutsy, adj., 
having guts, and gutsiness, subs., the 
condition of being gutsy (1738). As 
verb, (1) to plunder, or take out all 
or most of the contents (i.e. intes- 
tines) of a place or thing, drain, 
clean out : e.g. to gut a house (thieves'), 
to rifle it ; to gut an oyster, to eat it ; 
to gut a book, to empty it of interest- 
ing matter ; to gut a quart pot, to drain 
at a draught. Whence, gutted, dead- 
broke ( 1696). (2) To eat hard, fast, and 
badly, wolf (q.v.). To fret one's guts, 
to worry ; to have plenty of guts but no 
bowels, to be unfeeling, hard, merci- 
less ; my great guts are ready to eat my 
little ones, I am very hungry : also, 
my guts begin to think my throat's cut, 
my guts curse my teeth, and my guts 
chime twelve (Grose); not fit to carry guts 
to a bear, to be worthless, absolutely 
unmannerly, unfit for human food. 

Gut-foundered. Exceedingly 
hungry (1696). 

Gut-pudding. A sausage (Nomen- 

Gut-puller. A poulterer, chicken- 
butcher (q.v.). 

Gut - scraper. A fiddler : also 
catgut-scraper and tormentor of cat- 
gut : see Rosin-the-bow (1719). 

Gutter. Porter (Matsell) : prob- 
ably a corruption of gatter (q.v.). 
As verb (Winchester College), to fall 
in the water flat on the stomach : Fr., 
piquer un platventre. To lap the 
gutter, to be in the last stage of in- 
toxication : see Screwed. Carry me 
out and leave me in the gutter: see 
Carry me out. 

Gutter-alley (or lane). 1. The 
throat. All goes down gutter-lane, 
He spends all on his stomach. Eng- 
lish synonyms: Beer Street, common 
sewer, drain, funnel, Gin Lane, gulf- 
gullet, gully-hole, gutter, Holloway, 
Peck Alley, Red Lane, the Red 
Sea, Spew Alley, swallow, thrapple, 
throttle, whistle. 2. A urinal. 



Gutter-blood. (1) A ragged 
rascal (1822). Also (2) a vulgarian; 
an upstart from the rabble. 

Gutter-chaunter. A street singer. 

Gutter-hotel. The open air: see 

Gutter-literature. See Blood-and- 
thunder, and Awful. 

Gutter - master. A term of re- 
proach (1607). 

Gutter - prowler. A street thief 

Gutter-snipe. 1. A street arab : 
also gutter-slush. 2. A poster for 
the kerb. 3. An outside broker who 
does business chiefly in the street ; a 
kerbstone broker (q.v.) : Fr., loup- 

Guttie. 1. A gutta-percha ball. 
2. A glutton, stodger (q.v.). 3. A 
forty-guts (q.v.). 

Guttle. To eat greedily, Gormand- 
ize (q.v.). Also to drink: e.g. to 
guttle a pint, to take off, or do, a 
pint ; He's been guttling swipes, he's 
been drinking beer. Hence guttler, 
a coarse or greedy eater, a sturdy 
pot-companion, gorger (q.v.) : cf. 
Thackeray's Book of Snobs for Guttle- 
bury Fair : see Guzzle (1672). 

Guttle - shop. A pastry - cook's, 
tuck-shop (q.v.). 

Guv. An abbreviation of/governor 

Guy. 1. A Fifth of November 
effigy, whence, 2. an ill-dressed per- 
son : as in the old street cry, Hollo, 
boys, there goes another guy ! English 
synonyms: caution, Captain Queer- 
nabs, chivey, comic bird, ragamuffin, 
sight. 3. A dark lantern : obviously 
a reminiscence of the Gunpowder 
Plot 4. A jaunt, expedition. As 
verb, (1) to quiz, chaff, roast (q.v.), 

Josh (q.v.); (2) to escape, hedge 
(q.v.), run away : also to do a guy 
(which alsoto give a false name : see, 
Burk. (3) To spoil, muddle, disfigure, 
distort (4) To damn, bias, slate (q.v. ), 
give the bird (q.v.). 

Guzzle (or Guttle). 1. An insati- 
able eater or drinker. 2. A debauch. 
3. Drink. As verb, to drink greedily, 
or to excess (1607). 

Guzzle-guts. A glutton, a 
hard drinker (Lex. Bal., 1811): see 

Guzzler. A hard drinker, a coarse 
voracious feeder : see Guzzle (1760). 

Guzzling. Eating or drinking 
to excess, also eating or drinking in a 
coarse unmannerly fashion (1696). 

Guzzum. Chatter, noise. 

G. Y. All a G.Y., crooked, all on 
one side, all of a hugh. 

Gybe. A written paper (1567). 
As verb, to whip, castigate : e.g. 
gybed at the cart's tail, whipped at 
the cart's tail (1696). 

Gybing (also Gibery). Jeering 

Gyger. See Jigger. 

Gyp (Cambridge University). 
1. A college servant : at Oxford, a 
scout (q.v.) ; at Dublin, a skip (q.v.) 
Etymology doubtful : according to 
Sat. Rev. an abbreviation of Gipsy 
Joe ; according to Cambridge under- 
graduates from the Greek yi'>4 
(Gups), a vulture ; from the creature's 
rapacity.] (1794). 2. A thief (q.v.). 

Gypsies of Science. The British 
Association (1846). 

Gyrotwistive. Full of evasions 
and tricks, a portmanteau word. 

Gyte. 1. A child : in contempt 2. 
A first year's pupil in the Edinburgh 
High School 

Haberdasher. A dealer in 
small wares ; specifically (a) a hatter, 
and (6), (humorously) a publican (i.e. a 
seller of tape, q.v.) ; now restricted to 
a retail draper (1599). Haberdasher 
of pronouns, a schoolmaster (1696). 

Habit (Old University). College 
habit, College dress, called of old, 
Livery : the dress of the master, 
fellows, and scholars (Qradus ad Canta- 

Hab-nab (or Hob-nob). 1. At 
random, promiscuously, helter-skelter, 
ding-dong (1602). 2. By hook or by 
crook, by fair means or foul (1581). 

Hack (or Hackney). (1) A per- 
son or thing let out for promiscuous 
use : e.g. a horse, harlot, literary 
drudge. Whence (2) a coach that 
plies for hire ; (3) (stables') a horse 
for everyday use, as offered to one for 
a special purpose hunting, racing, 




polo. (4) (Cambridge Univ.), ' Hacks ; 
Hack preachers ; the common exhibi- 
tioners at St. Mary's, employed in the 
service of defaulters and absentees.' 
Also huckster. As verb, to kick 
shins. Hacking, the practice of kick- 
ing shins at football. 

Hackle. Pluck, spirit, bottom 
(q.v.). To show hackle, to show fight. 

Hackslaver. To stammer, splutter, 
hesitate in speech. 

Hackum (Captain Hackum, or 
Hackster). A bully, bravo : see 
Furioso (1657). 

Had. See Have. 

Haddock. 1. A purse. Had- 
dock of beans, & purse of money 
(1598). 2. In pi., North of Scotland 
Ordinary Stock. 

Hag (old : now recognised). (.1) 
A witch. Whence (2) an ugly old 
woman ; a she-monster. Also (3) a 
nightmare. At Charterhouse, a 
female of any description ; at Win- 
chester, a matron. Hence, Hag- 
ridden, troubled with nightmare ; hag 
born, witch born ; hag-seed (Shakes- 
peare, ' Tempest ' ), spawned of a witch ; 
hag-faced, foul-featured (1529). Your 
hag-ship! in contempt (of women). 

Hag-finder. A witch finder (1637). 

Hagged. Ugly, gaunt, hag - like 

Haggisland. Scotland. 

Haggle. To bargain keenly, 
stick at (or out for) trumpery points, 
debate small issues (1696). 

Haggler. Formerly a travel- 
ling merchant, a pedlar : now (in 
London vegetable markets) a middle- 
man (1662). 

Hail. To raise hail (Ned, Cain, 
or Hell), to make a disturbance ; to 
kick up a row. To be hail fellow well 
met, to be on very easy terms : also 
at hail fellow (1574). To be hailed 
for the last time, to die : see Aloft, Hop 
the twig. 

Hair. To go against the hair, to 
go against the grain, contrary to 
nature (1589). Both of a hair, very 
much alike, two of a trade, two in a 
tale. Not worth a hair, utterly worth- 
less : cf. Cent, Rap, Dump, etc. To 
a hair, exactly, to a nicety ; to fit to 
a hair, to fit perfectly ( 1697). To split 
hairs, to cavil about trifles, quibble, 
be over-nice in argument ( 1 693). Suit 
of hair : see Head of hair. To raise 
(or lift) hair, to scalp ; hence, idiom- 

atically, to defeat, kill ; to keep one's 
hair, to escape a danger. To comb 
one's hair, to castigate, monkey (q.v.). 
To hold (or keep) one's hair (or wool) 
on, to keep one's temper, avoid excite- 
ment, take things calmly : also, to 
keep one's shirt on, or, pull down one's 
jacket (or vest) : Fr., etre calme et 
inodore. A hair of the black bear (or 
b'ar), a spice of the devil. To make 
one's hair stand on end, to astonish 
(1697). A hair of the dog that bit one, a 
pick-me-up after a debauch. [Ap- 
parently a memory of the superstition, 
which was and still is common, that, 
being bitten by a dog, one cannot do 
better than pluck a handful of hair 
from him, and lay it on the wound.] 

Hair-butcher. A barber. 

Hair-pin. An individual, male or 
female : e.g. That's the sort of hair- 
pin I am, that's my style. 

Hairy. 1. Difficult. 2. Splendid, 
famous, conspicuous, uncommon. 

Halbert. To get the halbert, to 
rise to sergeant's rank : (the weapon 
was carried by sergeants of foot). 
To be brought to the halberts, to be 
flogged ; to carry the halbert in one's 
face, to show that one rose from the 
ranks (of officers in .commission) 

Half. It's half past kissing time 
and time to kiss again, the retort im- 
pudent (to females) when asked 
the time : a snatch from a ballad. 
[In Swift, Polite Conversation, an hour 
past hanging time.] 

Half - a - crack (jiffy, or tick). 
Half a second. 

Half-and-half. Equal quantities 
of ale and porter : cf. Four-half and 
Drinks (1824). As adj., half-drunk, 
half-on (q.v.): see Screwed. Half- 
and-half-coves (men, boys, etc.), cheap 
or linsey-woolsey dandies, half -bucks 
(q.v.), half -tigers (q.v.). 

Half-an-eye. To see with half 
an eye, to discern readily, be quick 
at conclusions. 

Half-baked (or Soft-baked). Half- 
witted, cracked, soft (q.v.), doughy 
(q.v.), half -rocked (q.v.): Fr., n' avoir 
pas la tte bien cuite (1825). 

Half-breed. A nickname ap- 
plied to certain New York Republicans 
who wavered in their allegiance 
during an election to the Senate in 
1881 (Norton). 



Half - cocked. Half-drunk : see 
Screwed. To go off at half-cock (or 
half -cocked), to fail through hasty and 
ill-considered endeavours. 

Half-cracked. Lacking in intel- 

Half-crown Word. A difficult 
or uncommon vocable, jaw-breaker 
(q.v.), crack-jaw : see Sleeveboard. 

Half - crowner. A publication 
costing 2s. 6d. 

H a 1 f - c u t. Half -drunk : see 

Half -fly Flat ( 1 ) A thief s jackal ; 
(2) a man (or woman) hired to do 
rough of dirty work. 

Half - grown Shad. A dolt : see 

Half Laugh and Purser's Grin. 
A sneer, a half - and - half meaning 
(Clark Russell). 

Halflings. Betwixt and between: 
usually of a boy or girl just past 
childhood (1818). 

Half - man. A landsman rated 

Half - marrow. 1. A faithless 
spouse ; also a parcel husband or wife 
(1600). 2. An incompetent seaman. 

Half-moon. A wig (1611). 

Half - mourning. A black eye. 
Putt-mourning, two black eyea, deep 

Half-nab (or nap). At a venture, 
unsight unseen, hit or miss (Moore 

Half-on. Half-drunk. 

Half-rocked. Half-witted, silly: 
a West Country saying is that all idiots 
are nursed bottom upwards. 

Half-saved. Weak-minded, shallow- 

Half-screwed. More or less in 
liquor : see Screwed. 

Half-seas Over. Loosely applied 
to various degrees of inebriety : for- 
merly, half way on one's course, or 
towards attainment : see Screwed. 
[In its specific sense Gifford says, A 
corruption of the Dutch op-zee zober, 
over-sea beer, a strong heady beverage 
introduced into Holland from Eng- 
land. Up-zee Freese is Friezeland 
beer. The German zauber means 
strong beer, and bewitchment. Thus 
(1610) in Jonson, Alchemist, iv. 2. 
I do not like the dulness of your eye, 
It hath a heavy cast, 'tis upsee Dutch. 
Other nautical terms drunk are 
Water-logged, Sprung, Slewed, With 

one's jib well bowsed, Three sheets 
in the wind, Channels under, etc.] 

Half-slewed. Parcel drunk : see 

Half - snacks (or Half - snags). 
Half -shares (1683). 

Half-'un. Half a glass of spirit* 
and water, half-a-go (q.v.). 

Half - widow. A woman with a 
lazy and thriftless husband. 

Halifax. Go to Halifax, be off! 
The full text is Go to Hell, Hull, 
or Halifax: cf. Bath, Blazes, Hull, 
Putney, etc. (1599). 

Hall. 1. Specifically The Hall, 
Leadenhall Market : cf. Garden Lane, 
etc. 2. (Oxford Univ.). Dinner: 
which is taken in College halL To 
hall, to dine. Go and hire a hall, a 
retort upon loquacious bores. Hall by 
the sea, the Examination Hall of the 
conjoined Board of the Royal Colleges 
of Physicians and Surgeons: situate 
on the Embankment at the foot of the 
Waterloo Bridge. Hall of delight, a 
music hall. 

Hallan-shaker (or Hallen-shaker). 
A vagabond, sturdy beggar (1503). 

Halliballo. See'Hulhballo. 

Hallion (or Hallyon). (1) A rogue, 
a clod, a gentleman's servant out of 
livery ; also (2) a shrew. 

Halloo. To halloo with the under 
dog, to take the losing side. 

Halo. To work the halo racket, to 
grumble, be dissatisfied : from the 
story of the saint in Heaven who got 
dissatisfied with his nimbus. 

Haltersack. A gallows - bird : 
a general term of reproach and con- 
tempt (1598). 

Halves (Winchester College) : (pro. 
Haves). Half - Wellington boots, 
which were strictly non licet (obs.). 
Notions. To go (or cry) halves, to 
take (or claim) a half share or chance : 
in America at the halves (1831), 

Ham. 1. (in. pi.) Trousers : also 
Ham-cases: see Kicks (1725). 2. A 
loafer : also Ham-fatter : also (Ameri- 
can Slang Diet.), a tenth-rate actor 
or variety performer. No ham and 
all hominy, of indifferent quality, no 
great shakes, all work and no play, 
much cry and little wool. 

Hamlet. A high constable, a 
chief of police (American). 

Ham-match. A stand - up 

Hammer. 1. A hard-hitter : 




especially a right-handed slogger, like 
Hammer Lane : also Hammerer and 
Hammer- man. 2. An unblushing Jlie. 
As verb, (1) to beat, punish (q.v.) ; 

(2) to bate, to drive down (prices, etc.); 

(3) to declare one a defaulter. Down 
as a hammer, (I) wide-awake, know- 
ing (q.v.), fly (q.v.) ; (2) instant, 
peremptory, merciless : cf. Like a 
thousand of bricks : also To be down 
ora ... like a hammer. At (or under) 
the hammer, for sale at auction. That's 
the hammer, an expression of approval 
or assent. To be hammers to one, to 
know what one means. To hammer out 
(or into), to be at pains to deceive, to 
reiterate, to force to hear (1596). 

Hammer - and - tongs. Violently, 
ding-dong (1781). 

Hammer - headed. 1. Oafish^ 
stupid (1600). 2. Hammer-shaped: 
i.e. long and narrow in the head. 

Hammering. 1. A beating, ex- 
cessive punishment (q.v.); 2. over- 
charging time-work (as corrections). 

Hammering-trade. Pugilism. 

Hammersmith. To go to Hammer- 
smith, to get a sound drubbing. 

Hampered (old : now recognised). 
Let or hindered, perplexed, entangled. 

Hampstead Donkey. A louse : see 

Hampstead-heath. 5,The teeth : see 

Hampstead - heath Sailor. A 
landlubber (q.v.) ; freshwater sailor 
(q.v.) : Fr., marin d'eau douce or 
amiral Suisse (Swiss admiral : Switzer- 
land having no seaboard). 

Hanced. In liquor: see Screwed. 

Hand. 1. Properly a seaman : now 
a labourer, workman, agent (1658). 
2. A light touch, sleight, knack, skill. 
Phrases : A good (cool, neat, old, fine, 
etc.) hand, an expert (1748). A hand 
like a foot, a large coarse hand ; also 
vulgar or uneducated handwriting 
(1738). A hand like a fist, , a hand full 
of trumps ; also (in derision) a hand 
there's no playing ; to take a hand with 
the outside music, to join in a free 
fight ; to get a hand on, to suspect, be 
distrustful ; to get one's hand in, to 
practise with a view to proficiency ; to 
bear a hand, to make haste ; to stand 
one's hand, to treat (q.v.), to stand 
Sam (q.v.) ; to hand in one's chips (or 
checks), see Cash one's checks ; to have 
(or get) the upper hand, to have at an 

advantage, get to windward (q.v.) ; 
to hand up (Winchester College), to 
give information against, betray 
(Notions) ; hands up 1 an injunction 
to desist, stow it ! (q.v.) : also (police), 
a command to surrender, bail up 
(q.v.). Amongst other colloquial 
usages of hand are the following : 
At hand, readily, hard by, At any 
hand (Shakespeare), on any account, 
At no hand, on no account, For one's 
own hand, for one's own purpose or 
interest, From hand to hand, from one 
to another, in hand, in a state of 
preparation, under consideration, or 
control ; Off one's hands, finished, On 
hand, in possession, In one's hands, in 
one's care, Out of hand, completed, 
without hesitation, To one's hand, 
ready, Hand over head, negligently, 
rashly, Hand to mouth, improvident, 
Hands off I stand off, Heavy on hand, 
hard to manage, Hot at hand, difficult 
to manage, Light in hand, easy to 
manage, To ask (or give) the hand of, 
to ask, (or give) in marriage, to be 
hand in glove with, to be very intimate 
with, To bear a hand, to help, To 
bear in (or on) hand, to cheat or mock 
by false promises, To change hands, to 
change owners, to come to hand, to be 
received, To get hand, to gain influence, 
To give a hand, to applaud, To give the 
hand to, to be reconciled to, To have a 
hand in, to have a share in, To have 
one's hands full, to be fully occupied, 
To hold hands with, to vie with, to 
hold one's own, To lay hands on, to 
assault, to seize, To\lend a hand,to help, 
To make a hand, to gain an advantage, 
To put (or stretch) forth the hand 
against, to use violence, To set the hand 
to, to undertake, To strike hands, to 
make a bargain, To take by the hand, to 
take under one's guidance, To take 
in hand, to attempt, To wash one's 
hands of, to disclaim responsibility, 
A heavy hand, severity, A light hand, 
gentleness, A slack hand, idleness, care- 
lessness, A strict hand, severe discip- 
line, Clean hands, freedom from guilt, 
To stand one in hand, to concern, to 
be of importance to, Hand to fist, 
tete-a-tete, hip to haunch, Hand over 
hand, easily, To get a hand, to be 

Hand - and - pocket Shop. An 
eating house, where ready money is 
paid for what is called for. 

Handbasket - portion. A woman 



whose husband receives frequent 
present* from her father, or family, 
is said to have a hand-basket portion. 

Handbinder. A wrist - chain : see 

Hander. A stroke on the hand 
with a cane, a palmie (q.v.). 

Handicap. An arrangement in 
racing, etc., by which every com- 
petitor is, or is supposed to be, brought 
on an equality as far as regards ms 
chance of winning by an adjustment of 
the weights to be carried, the distance 
to be run, etc. : extra weight or dis- 
tance being imposed in proportion to 
their supposed merits on those held 
better than the others. [A handicap 
is framed in accordance with the 
known performances of the competi- 
tors, and, in horse - racing, with 
regard to the age and sex of J the 
entries. The term is derived from the 
old game of hand-in-cap, or handicap.] 
(1660). As verb, (1) to adjust or 
proportion weights, starts, etc., in 
order to bring a number of competitors 
as nearly as possible to an equality ; 
(2) to make even or level, equalise 
between ; (3) to embarrass, burden, 
hinder, or impede in any way. 

Handle. 1. The nose : see Conk. 
2. A title : Fr., queue, as Monsieur 
Sansqueue, Mr. Nobody (1865). 3. 
Occasion, opportunity, means (1753). 
As verb, (1) to conceal cards in the 
palm of the hand or up the sleeves, 
palm (q.v.) ; (2) to use, make use of, 
manage ( 1606). To handle the ribbons, 
to drive ( 1857). To fly off the handle : 
see Fly. 

Hand-me-downs (or Hand- 
' em-downs). Second - hand clothes. 
Hand-me-down shop (or Never-too-late- 
to-mend-shop), a repairing tailor's : 
Fr., decrochez-moi-ra. English syno- 
nyms : reach-me-downs, translations, 

Hand-out Food to a tramp at the 

Handpiece. A handkerchief, 
wipe (q.v.). 

Handsaw. A street vendor of 
knives and razors, chive- fencer (q.v.). 

Handsome. Sharp, severe, con- 
venient, fit, neat, graceful, dextrous, 
skilful, ready, ample, generous, liberal, 
manageable, in good or proper style, 
and (in America) grand or beautiful 
(1553). To do the handsome (or the 
handsome thing), to behave extremely 

well, be civil ; handsome is that hand- 
some does, actions, not words, arc the 
test of merit ; also ironically of ill- 
favoured persons (1811); handsome- 
bodied in the face, jeering commenda- 
tion of an ugly follow ; handsome as a 
last year's corpse, a sarcastic compli- 
ment ; handsomely I gently ! a cry to 
signify smartly, but carefully. Abo 
handsomely over the bricks, go cauti- 

Handsome - reward. A horse- 

Handsprings. To chuck hand- 
springs, to turn somersaults. 

Handy. Handy as a pocket in a 
shirt, very convenient : also derisively. 

Handy-blows (or cuffs). Fisti- 
cuffs ; hence close quarters (1603). 

Handy-man. A servant or work- 
man doing odd jobs (1847). 

Hang. 1. General drift, tendency 
or bent : as in to get the hang of, to get 
conversant with, to acquire the trick, 
or knack, or knowledge of (1847). 2. 
A little bit, a bit : see Care. As verb, 
(generally Hang it !), an exclamation of 
vexation, disgust, or disappointment ; 
also, more forcibly, a euphemistic 
oath (1598). To hang in, to get to 
work, do one's best, wire in (q.v.); 
to hang in the bettropes, to defer 
marriage after being asked in church ; 
to hang on by one's eyelashes, to persist 
at any cost, and in the teeth of any 
discouragement ; to hang on by the 
splashboard, to catch a tram, omnibus, 
etc., when it is on the move ; hence 
to succeed by the skin of one's teeth : 
Fr., arcpincer V omnibus ;t to hang 
around (or about), to loiter, loaf, haunt ; 
to hang out, to live, reside : also (subs.), 
a residence, lodging ; and (American 
University) a feast, entertainment ; 
to hang out a shingle, to start or carry 
on business ; to hang one's latchpan, to 
be dejected, to pout : Fr., faire son 
aquilin ; to hang it out, to skulk, mike 
(q.v.) ; to hang up, (1) to give credit, 
score (or chalk) up : said of a reckon- 
ing : also to put on the slate, or (Ameri- 
can) on the ice (q.v.) (1725); (2) to 
bear in mind, remember ; (3) to pawn ; 
(4) to rob with violence on the street, 
hold up (q.v.) : Fr., la faire au pere 
Francois ; (5) to be in extremis, 
know not which way to turn for relief : 
e.g. a man hanging, one to whom 
any change must be for the better ; 
(6) to postpone, leave undecided ; to 



Happy Hunting-grounds. 

hang on, (1) to sponge, and (2) to 
pursue an individual or a design 
(1601) ; to hang off, to fight shy off; to 
hang up one's fiddle, to retire, desist ; 
to hang up one's fiddle anywhere, to 
adapt oneself to circumstances; to 
hang up one's hat (1) to die : see Hop 
the twig ; (2) to make oneself per- 
manently at home. 

Hang-bluff. Snuff. 

Hang-by. A hanger-on, parasite, 
companion (1598). 

Hang-dog. A pitiful rascal, only 
fit for the rope for the hanging of 
superfluous curs : cf. Gallows - bird 
(1732). As adj., vile, suspicious in 
aspect, gallows-looking (q.v.). 

Hang - gallows. A thievish, or 
villainous appearance (Grose). 

Hanger. A side-arm short 
sword or cutlass hanging from the 
girdle. Also in pi., (1) ornamental 
loops from the girdle to suspend the 
sword and dagger (1596); (2) gloves, 
specifically gloves in the hand : (3) see 

Hang-in-chains. A vile, desperate 
fellow (Grose). 

Hanging. Fit for the halter. 

Hanging - bee. A gathering 
lynch-lawmongers, bent on the appli- 
cation of the rope. 

Hangman. A jocular endear- 
ment (1600). 

Hangman 's-day. Monday, and 
(in America) Friday. 

Hangman's - wages. Thirteen- 
pence-halfpenny. [The fee for an 
execution was a Scots mark : the 
value of which piece was settled, by 
a proclamation of James I., at 13d.] 

Hang - slang about. To abuse, 
slang (q.v.), Billingsgate (q.v.). 

Hank. 1. A tie, hold, advantage, 
difficulty. In a hank, in trouble 
(1696). 2. A spell of rest, easy time. 
As verb, to worry, bait, drive from 
pillar to post. 

Hanker. To desire eagerly, fret 
after, long or pine for : generally with 
after. Also, hankering, an impor- 
tunate and irritating longing (1696). 

Hankin. The trick of putting off 
bad work for good : cf . To play hanky- 

Hanktelo. A silly fellow, a 
mere Codshead (B. E.), 

Hanky-panky. (1) Legerdemain ; 
whence (2) trickery, underhand (q.v.) 

work, cheating, any manner of double- 
dealing or intrigue. Hanky - panky 
business, conjuring; hanky-panky work 
(or tricks), double-dealing. A bit 
of hanky - panky, a trick ; a piece 
of knavery (1841). 

Hanky-panky-bloke. A conjurer. 

Hanky-spanky. Dashing, nobby 
(q.v.) : specifically of well-cut clothes. 

Hannah. That's the man aa 
married Hannah, That's the thing : 
used of a thing well begun and well 
ended ; or as an expressive of certainty. 
Varied sometimes by That's what's 
the matter with Hannah. 

Hansel (or Handsel). The first 
money taken in the morning, lucky 
money. Hence earnest money, first- 
fruits, etc. Hansel-Monday, the first 
Monday in the new year, when pre- 
sents were received by children and 
servants (1587). As verb, (1) to 
give handsel to ; also (2) to use for 
the first time. 

Hanseller. A street vendor, 
cheap Jack. 

Hans-en-Kelder. A child in the 
womb : literally Jack - in - the - cellar 
(q.v.) (1647). 

Hansom. A chop. 

Hap - harlot. A coarse stuff to 
make rugs or coverlets with, a rug : 
cf. Wrap-rascal, an overcoat (1577). 

Ha'porth o' Coppers. Habeas 

Ha'porth of Liveliness. 1. 
Music. 2. A loitering Lawrence, 
slowcoach (q.v.). 

Happify. To please (1612). 

Happy. Slightly drunk, elevated 
(q.v.): see Screwed. 

Happy - despatch. Death, speci- 
fically a sudden or violent end. 

Happy-dosser. See Dosser. 

Happy Eliza. A female Salva- 
tionist : as in the Broadside Ballad 
(1887-8), They call me Happy Eliza, 
and I'm Converted Jane : We've been 
two hot 'uns in our time. 

Happy - family. Assemblages of 
animals of diverse habits and pro- 
pensities living amicably, or at least 
quietly, in one cage. 

Happy-go-lucky. Carelese,thought- 
less, improvident. 

Happy Hunting - grounds. 1. 
The future state ; glory (q.v.) : from 
the North-American Indian's con- 
ception of heaven. 2. A favourable 
place for v/ork or play. 




Happy-land. The after life, 
glory (q.v.). 

Happy-returns. Vomiting. 

Hard. 1. Hard labour. 2. See 
Hard-shell. 3. Third-class : aa op- 
posed to soft (q.v.). Thus : Do you 
go hard or soft T Do you go Third 
or First ? As adj., (1) applied to 
metal of all kinds : e.g. hard (cole or 
stuff), silver or gold as compared to 
cheques or soft (q.v.) (1825). (2) 
sour or souring, as in hard-cider ; (3) 
hard drinks (American), intoxicating 
liquors, as wine, ale, etc., while lemon- 
ade, soda-water, ginger-beer, etc., are 
soft (1696). Phrases: Hard as a 
bone (nails, etc.), very hard, austere, 
unyielding ; hard at it, very busy, in 
the thick of a piece of work ; to die 
hard, to sell one's life dearly ; e.g. 
The Die-hards (q.v.), the 59th Regi- 
ment, so called from their gallantry 
at Albuera ; also in many combina- 
tions, generally with an unplea- 
sant intention, thus Hard-fisted (or 
handed), very niggardly ; hard - bit 
(or hard-mouthful), an unpleasant ex- 
perience ; hard-driven (or hard-run), 
sore bested ; hard-faced (favoured, 
or featured), grim, shrewish, or bony ; 
hard-headed (or hard-witted), shrewd 
and intelligent, but unimaginative 
and unsympathetic ; hard-hearted, in- 
capable of pity ; hard-lipped, obstinate, 
dour ; hard-master, a nigger - driver ; 
hard - nut, a dangerous antagonist ; 
hard-on, pitiless in severity ; hard- 
riding, selfish and reckless equestra- 
tion ; hard - service, the worst kind 
of employment ; hard-wrought, over- 
worked, etc., etc. 

Hard-a-weather. Tough, weather- 

Hard -bake. A sweetmeat made 
of boiled brown sugar or treacle with 
blanched almonds. 

Hard-baked. 1. Constipated. 2. 
Stern, unflinching, strong. 

Hard - bargain (or Case). 1. A 
lazy fellow, bad-egg (q.v.), skulker. 
One of the Queen's hard bargains, a bad 
soldier. 2. A defaulting debtor. 3. A 
brutal mate or officer : also Hard-horse. 

Hard - bitten. Resolute, Game 
(q.v.), desperate (1815). 

Hard-cheese. Hard lines, bad luck : 
specifically at billiards. 

Hard-cole. See Hard and Cole. 

Hard-doings. ( 1 ) Rough fare ; and 
(2) hard work (1848). 

Hard-drinking. Drinking to excess 

Hard-head. A man of good parts, 
physical, intellectual, or moral (1824). 

Hard-hit To be hard hit, (1) to 
have experienced a heavy loss, as over 
a race, at cards, etc. ; (2) to be deeply 
in love, completely gone on (q.v.). 

Hard-lines. Hardship, difficulty, 
an unfortunate result or occurrence. 

Hard-mouthed. Difficult to deal 
with, wilful, obstinate : also coarse in 
speech (1686). 

Hard - neck. Brazen impudence, 
monumental cheek (q.v.). 

Hard-pan. The lowest point, 
bed-rock (q.v.). To get down to hard 
pan, to buckle to, get to business. 

Hard - puncher. The fur cap as 
worn by the London rough : formerly 
worn by men in training : a modi- 
fication of the Scotch cap with a peak. 
[From the nickname of a noted 

Hard-pushed. In difficulties, hard- 
up (q.v.). 

Hard put to. In a difficulty 
monetary or other : e.g. He'd bo 
hard put to it to find a sovereign (or 
a word, or an excuse), It would take 
him all his time, etc. 

Hard-row. See Row. 

Hard - run. In want of money, 
hard-up (q.v.). 

Hard - shell. 1. A member of an 
extreme section of Baptists holding 
very strict and rigid views. [The 
Soft-shells are of more liberal mind.] 
Also Hards and Softs (1848). 2. 
(political American). A division of 
the Democratic Party in 1846-48, 
when the Hunkers (q.v.) received the 
name of Hards and their opponents, 
the Barnburners (q.v.), that of Softs 
(1847). As adj., extremely ortho- 
dox, unyielding, hide-bound. 

Hard-stuff. 1. Money. 2. Intoxi- 
cating liquors : see Hard (adj., sense 

Hard -tack. 1. Ship's biscuits: 
specifically ordinary sea-fare as dis- 
tinguished from food ashore, or soft- 
tommy (q.v.) (1841). 2. Coarse or 
insufficient fare. 

Hard - up. 1. A collector of cigar- 
ends, a topper-hunter (q.v.). The 
refuse, untwisted and chopped up, 
is sold to the very poor : sometimes 
Hard-cut: FT., mfgottier. 2. A poor 
man, a stony-broke (q.v.) (1857). 




As adv. phr., 1. very badly in want of 
money, in urgent need of anything: 
also Hard - run and Hard - pushed 
(1809). English synonyms: many 
of the synonyms for floored apply 
equally to hard-up ; others are, at 
low - water - mark, cracked up, dead- 
broke, down on one's luck, fast, in 
Queer Street, in the last of pea time, 
in the last run of shad, low down, 
low in the lay, oofless, out of favour 
with the oof - bird, pebble - beached, 
seedy, short, sold-up, stony-broke, 
strapped, stuck, stumped, suffering 
from an attack of the week's (or 
month's) end, tight, on one's uppers, 
under a cloud, on one's beam ends. 
2. Intoxicated : see Screwed. 3. 
(Winchester College). Out of counten- 
ance, exhausted (in swimming). 

Hard - upness (or Hard - uppish- 
ness). Poverty, a condition of im- 

Hardware (or Hard). Counter- 
feit com (Matsdl). 

Hardware - bloke. A native of 
Birmingham, a Brum (q.v.). 

Hardy-annual. A bill that is 
brought before Parliament every year, 
but never passed into law; hence 
(journalistic), any stock subject. 

Hare. To dodge, double, be- 
wilder (1719). To hare it, to retrace 
one's steps, double back : from the 
way of a hare with the hounds ; to 
make a hare of, to make ridiculous, 
expose the ignorance of any person 
(1830) ; to swallow a hare, to get very 
drunk : see Screwed (1696) ; to hold 
with the hare and hunt with the hounds, 
to play a double game, keep on good 
terms with two conflicting parties 
(1696). To kiss the hare's foot, to be 
late, be a day after the fair, kiss the 

Hare-brained (or Hair-brained). 
Reckless, nighty, impudent, skittish : 
also, substantively, hare-brain, a hare- 
brained person (1534). 

Hared. Hurried. 

Hare-sleep. Sham slumber, foxes' 
sleep (q.v.) (1696). 

Harking. Whispering on one side 
to borrow money (B. E.). 

Harlequin. 1. A sovereign : see 
Rhino. 2. (Winchester College), the 
wooden nucleus of a red indiarubber 
ball. 3. A patchwork quilt. Har- 
lequin china, sets composed of several 
patterns and makes. 

Harlotry. A wanton (1529). As 
adj., disreputable. 

Harman-beck (or , Harman). 
An officer of justice : see Beak (1567). 

Harmans. The stocks : the suffix 
mans is common lightmans, dark- 
mans, roughmans, etc. (1567). 

Harness. In harness, in business, 
at work : as, to die in harness, to die at 
one's post ; to get back into harness, to 
resume work after a holiday. 

Harp. Harp is also the Irish ex- 
pression for woman or tail, used in 
tossing up in Ireland, from Hibernia 
being represented with a harp, on the 
reverse of the copper coins of that 
country, for which reason it is in hoist- 
ing the copper, i.e. tossing up, some- 
times likewise called music (Grose). 
To harp on, to dwell persistently and 
at any cost upon a subject (1596). 

Harper. A brass coin current in 
Ireland, temp. Elizabeth, value one 
penny : from the Irish Harp figured 
upon it. Have among you my blind 
harpers, an expression used in throw- 
ing or shooting at random among a 
crowd (Grose). 

Harridan. Orig. a foundered 
wanton : hence, a miserable, scraggy, 
worn-out woman (Grose). 

Harrington. A brass farthing. 
[Lord Harrington obtained a patent 
of manufacture under James I.] 

Harry. 1. A countryman, clown, 
Joskin. 2. See 'Arry. Old Harry, the 
devil (1693). Harry of the West, 
Henry Clay. To play old Harry, to 
annoy, ruin, play the devil. Tom, 
Dick, and Harry, generic for any and 
everybody, the mob. 

Harry-bluff. Snuff. 

Harry-common. A general wencher 

Harry - soph (Cambridge Univ. : 
obsolete). ' A Harry or errant Soph, I 
understand to be either a person, four- 
and-twenty years of age, and of an 
infirm state of health, who is per- 
mitted to dine with the fellows, and 
to wear a plain, black, full-sleeved 
gown ; or, else, he is one who, having 
kept all the terms by statute required 
previous to his law-act, is hoc ipso 
facto entitled to wear the same gar- 
ment, and, thenceforth, ranks as 
bachelor, by courtesy' (Gent. Mag.). 

Harum-scarum. 1. Giddy, care- 
less, wild, a thoughtless or reckless 



fellow (1740). 2. Four bones driven 
in a line, suicide (q.v.). 

Has-been. Anything antiquated : 
spec, in commendation, aa the good 
old Has-beens : of. Never was. 

Hash. 1. A mess ; spec, in the 
phrase To make a hash of : sixes- 
ancl sevens (1747). 2. Clandestine 
preparation for supper after hours 
(American cadets). 3. A sloven, 
blockhead (Burns). As verb, (1) to 
spoil, jumble, cook up and serve 
again ; (2) to vomit : also to flash 
the hash (q.v.). To go back on one's 
hash, to turn, succumb, weaken (q.v.) 

Hash - house. A cheap eating- 
house, grubbing -crib (q.v.). 

Haslar-hag. A nurse at Haslar 

Hastings. To be none of the 
Hastings sort, to be slow, deliberate, 
slothful (1696). 

Hasty. Rash, passionate, quick to 
move (1696: now recognised). Hasty 
O., hasty generalisation (Cambridge). 

Hasty pudding. 1. A bastard. 2. 
A muddy road, a quag (1811). 

Hat (Cambridge Univ.). 1. A 
gentleman commoner (who is per- 
mitted to wear a hat instead of the 
regulation mortar-board) : also Gold- 
Hatband (1628). 2. A prostitute of 
long standing. Phrases : To eat one's 
hat (or head), generally in phrase, FU 
eat my hat, used in strong emphasis ; 
to get a hat : see Hat-trick ; tb get into 
the hat, to get into trouble ; to have a 
brick in one's hat, to be top-heavy 
with drink : see Screwed ; to hang up 
one's hat : see Hang ; to pass (or send) 
round the hat, to make a collection ; 
to talk through one's hat, to rag, huff, 
bluster ; all round my hat, a derisive 
retort from a broadside ballad, popu- 
lar c. 1830 : All round my hat I wear a 
green willow, All round my hat for a 
twelvemonth and a day, And if anyone 
should ask you the reason why I wear 
it, Tell them my true love is gone far 
away ; sung to a tune adapted from a 
number in Zampa : also, all over, com- 
pletely, generally ; shoot that hat I & 
derisive retort : also Fll have your hat I 
well, you can take my hat / Well, that 
beats me, i.e. that is past belief ; 
what a shocking bad hat, said to have 
originated with a candidate for 
parliamentary honours, who made 
the remark to his poorer constituents 
and promised them new head-gear. 

Hatch. To be under hatches, to be 
in a state of trouble, poverty, or de- 
pression : also dead (1606). 

Hatchet. 1. An ill-favoured 
woman. 2. A bribe received by 
Customs officers in New York for per- 
mitting imported dutiable goods to 
remain on the wharf when they ought 
to go to the general store-house. To 
bury (or dig up) the hatchet : see Bury. 
To throw (or sling) the hatchet, ( 1 ) to tell 
lies, yarn, draw the long bow (q.v.) ; 
hence hatchet flinging (or throwing), 
lying or yarning (1789). To sulk. 

Hatchet - faced. Hard - favoured, 
ugly (B. E.). 

Hatch, Match, and Dispatch 
Column. The births, marriages, 
and deaths announcements : also 
Cradle, Altar, and Tomb Column. 

Hatchway. The mouth : see 

Hate -out. To boycott, send to 

Hatfield. A drink : the chief in- 
gredients are gin and ginger-beer. 

Hatful. A large quantity, heap 

Hatpeg. The head: see Crumpet 

Hatter. A gold-digger working 
alone. Who's your hatter f a catch-cry 
long out of vogue. Mad as a hatter, 
very mad. 

Hat-trick. Taking three wickets 
with three consecutive balls : which 
feat is held to entitle the bowler to a 
new hat at the cost of the club. 

Hat- work. Hack work, such stuff 
as may be turned out by the yard 
without reference to quality. 

Haulable (University). Used of 
a girl whose society authorities deem 
undesirable for the men : e.g. she's 
haulable, a man caught with her will be 

Haul-bowline. A seaman. 

Haul-devil. A clergyman, devil- 
dodger, sky-pilot. Haul devil, pull 
baker : see DeviL 

:Haut-boy (or Ho -boy). A night 
scavenger, jakesman, gold - finder 

Have. 1. A swindle, take-in 
(q.v.), do (q.v.): see Sell. 2. In pi., 
The moneyed classes, as opposed to 
the have-nots, their antipodes. 3. 
(in pi.) (Winchester College). Half- 
boots : pronounced Haves. Is that 
a catch or a have ? a formula of ac- 
knowledgment that the speaker has 


Haver cake-lads. 


been had : if the person addressed be 
unwise enough to answer with a defini- 
tion, the dovetail is a vulgar retort. 
As verb, to cheat, take-in, do. To 
have (or take) it out of one, to punish, 
retaliate, extort a quid pro quo, give 
tit for tat ; to have it out with one, to 
speak freely in reproof, complete an 
explanation, settle a dispute with 
either words or blows ; to have on, to 
secure a person's interest, attention, 
sympathy : generally with a view to 
deceiving him (or her) ; to have towards 
(or with or at), (1) to pledge in drink- 
ing, toast (1637) ; (2) to agree with ; 
to have on toast, (1) to take in; (2) 
worst in argument ; to have on the 
raws, to teaze, touch to the quick ; 
to let one have it, to punish severely ; 
to have up, to bring before the authori- 
ties ; to summons (q.v.). 

Havercake-lads. The Thirty-third 
Foot, now the first battalion of the 
Duke of Wellington's (West Riding 
Regiment). [From the circumstance 
that its recruiting sergeants always 
preceded their party with an oatcake 
on their swords.] 

Havey-cavey. Uncertain, doubtful, 
shilly-shally (1811). 

Havil. A sheep, wool-bird (1811). 

H a v o c k. Devastation, waste 
(B. E.). 

Hawcubite. A roysterer, street 
bully. [After the Restoration there 
was a succession of these disturbers 
of the peace : first came the Muns, then 
followed the Tityre Tus, the Hectors, 
the Scourers, the Nickers, the Haw- 
cubites, and after them the Mohawks 

Hawk. 1. A card-sharper, rook 
(q.v.) (1696). 2. A bailiff, constable : 
see Beak. As verb, To spit up the 
thick phlegm, called oysters, whence it 
is wit upon record to ask the person 
so doing whether he has a license, a 
punning allusion to the act of hawkers 
and pedlars (Grose). Ware hawk ! A 
warning: look sharp! (1529). 

Hawk-a-mouthed. Foul-mouthed. 

Hawker. A pedlar : now re- 
cognised (1696). 

Hawk-eye state. Iowa : after the 
famous Indian chief. 

Hawse. To fall athwart one's 
hawse, to obstruct, fall out with, 
counter and check. 

Hawse-holes. To come (or creep) 
in through the hawse-holes, to enter the 

service at the lowest grade, rise from 
the forecastle (1830). 

Hay. To make hay, to throw into 
confusion, turn topsy-turvy, knock to 
pieces in argument or single combat : 
also to kick up a row. To dance the 
hay, to make good use of one's time. 

Hay - bag. A woman : Fr., pail- 

Hay-band. A common cigar, a 

Haymarket-hector. A prostitute's 

Haymarket - ware. A common 

Hay-pitcher (or Hay - seed). A 
countryman : cf. Gape-seed (1851). 

Hays ! An injunction to be gone, 
Git (q.v.). 

Haze. Bewilderment, confusion, 
fog (q.v.). As verb, (1) to play 
tricks or practical jokes, frolic : hence 
Hazing : also to mystify, fog (q.v.), 
(2) To harass with overwork or paltry 
orders : also to find fault (1840). 

Hazel-geld. To beat any one with 
a hazel-stick or plant (B. E.). 

Hazy. Stupid with drink, mixed 
(q.v.) : see Screwed (1824). 

He (Charterhouse). A cake. A 
young he, a small cake : see She. 

Head. 1. A man-of-war's privy. 
2. The obverse of a coin or medal. 
Heads or tails ? Guess whether the coin 
spun will come down with head upper- 
most or not (the side not bearing the 
sovereign's head has various devices : 
Britannia, George and the Dragon, a 
harp, the Royal arms, an inscription, 
etc. all included in the word tail, i.e. 
the reverse of head. The Romans said 
Heads or ships ?) (1680). 3. An 
arrangement of the hair, a coiffure 
(1773). Phrases: To have at one's 
head, to cuckold (1640) ; to take one 
in the head, to come into one's mind 
(1609); to do on head, to act rashly 
(1559); to do on one's head, to do 
easily and with joy ; to fly at the head, 
to attack, go for (q.v.) (1614); to 
eat one's head : see Hat ; to eat one's 
(or if a) head off, to cost more than the 
worth in keep (1703) ; to run on head, 
to incite (1556) ; to give one's head (or 
one's beard) for washing, to yield 
tamely and without resistance : Fr., 
laver la tele, to reprimand, admonish 
with point, energy, and force (1615); 
to put a head (or new head) on one, (1) 
to change a man's aspect by punching 




his head : hence, to get the better 
of Bone's opponent, annihilate : also 
to put a new face on ; (2) to froth 
malt liquors : e.g. Put a head on it, 
Miss, addressed to the barmaid, is a 
request to work the engine briskly, 
and make the liquor take on a cauli- 
flower (q.v.) ; heads I win, tails you 
lose, a gage of certainty In no case 
can I fail : I hold all the trumps ; to 
get the head into chancery, to get the 
other fighter's head under one arm 
and hold it there : hence Chancery, a 
position of helplessness (1819); (2) 
hence to get, or be got, into a posture 
of absolute helplessness ; to knock on 
the head, to Mil, destroy, put an end to ; 
to get (or put) the head in a bag : see 
Bag ; to get (or have) a swelling in the 
(or a big-) head, to be or become con- 
ceited, put on airs ; to hit the right nail 
on the head, to speak or act with pre- 
cision and directness, do the right 
thing : the colloquialism is common to 
most languages : the French say, 
Vous avez frappe au but (You have hit 
the mark) ; the Italians, Havete dato 
in brocca (You have hit the pitcher : 
alluding to a game where a pitcher 
stood in the place of Aunt Sally, q.v.) : 
the Latins, Rem acu tetigisti, (You 
have touched the thing with a 
needle : referring to the custom of 
probing sores) (1719); to argue (or 
talk) one's head off, to be extremely 
disputative or loquacious, to be all 
jaw (q.v.) ; to bundle out head (or neck) 
and heels, to eject with violence ; to 
have no head, (1) to lack ballast, be 
crack-brained: hence, to have a head on, 
to be cute, or alert, have sand (q.v.) ; 
(2) to be flat (of malt-liquors) ; to 
have a head, to experience the after- 
effects of heavy drinking (cf. Mouth) ; 
also to have a head-ache : see Screwed ; 
to give one his head, to give one full and 
free play, let go ; to nave maggots in 
the head, to be crotchety, whimsical, 
freakish, have a bee in one's bonnet ; 
to hurt in the head, to cuckold, cornute ; 
to lie heads and tails, to sleep packed 
sardine fashion, i.e. heads to head- 
rail and foot-rail alternately ; over 
head and ears (in work, love, debt, etc.) 
completely engrossed in, infatuated 
with, to the fullest extent (1589); 
without head or tail, incoherent, neither 
one thing nor the other : e.g. I can't 
make head or tail of it, I cannot make 
it out (1728); to have a head like a 

sieve, to be unreliable, forgetful ; 
heads out I a warning cry on the ap- 
proach of a master ; mutton-head (or 
headed) : see Mutton-head ; fat (or 
soft) in the head, stupid ; off one's head, 
stupid, crazy ; shut your head, hold 
your jaw. 

Head-beetler. ( 1 ) A bully ; and (2) 
a foreman, ganger (q.v.). 

Head-bloke. See Head-screw. 

Head - bully (or cully). Head 
bully of the pass or passage bank, ' The 
Top Tilter of the Gang, throughout 
the whole Army, who Demands and 
receives Contribution from all the 
Pass Banks in the Army ' (B. E. and 

Head - cook and bottle - washer. 

1. A general servant : in contempt. 

2. One in authority, boss (q.v.). 
Head -clerk. Head clerk of dox- 

ology works, a parson. 

Header. A notability, big- wig 
(q.v. ). To take a header, ( 1 ) to plunge, 
or fall, headforemost, into water : 
and (theatrical), to take an apparently 
dangerous leap in sensational drama. 
Hence (2), to go straight and directly 
for one's object (1856). 

Head-fruit. Horns (1694). 

Head-guard. A hat : specifically a 

Heading. A pillow, any rest for 
the head. Heading 'em, tossing coins 
in gambling : in allusion to the head 
on the coin. 

Head-marked. Horned. To know 
by head-mark, to know a cuckold by 
his horns. 

Head-rails. The teeth: see 
Grinders (Grose). 

Head - robber. 1. A plagiarist. 
2. A butler. 

Head-screw (or bloke). A chief 

Heady. 1. Heady, strong liquors 
that immediately fly up into the 
noddle, and so quickly make drunk 
(B. E.). 2. Restive, full of arrogance 
and airs, opinionated. 

Heady-whop. A person with a very 
large head. 

Healtheries. The Health Exhibi- 
tion, held at South Kensington : 
others of the series were nicknamed 
The Fisheries, The Colinderies, The 
Forestries, etc. 

Heap. A large number, lots, a 
great deal (1371). As adv., a great 
deal. AU of a heap, astonished, con- 




fused, taken aback, flabbergast (q.v.); 
and (pugilists') doubled up (1593). 

Heaped. Hard put to it, 
floored (q.v.). 

Hear. To hear a bird sing, to receive 
private communication : in modern 
parlance, A little bird told me so 

Hearing. A scolding, lecture, 

Hearing-cheats. The ears (1567). 
English synonyms: drums, flappers, 
leathers, lugs (Scots'), taps, wattles. 
Heart. Next the heart, fasting 
(1592). Other colloquial usages are 
at heart, in reality, truly, at bottom ; 
for one's heart, for one's life ; in one's 
heart of hearts, in the innermost re- 
cesses of oneself ; to break the heart of, 
(a) to cause great grief, or to kill by 
grief, and (&) to bring nearly to com- 
pletion ; to find in one's heart, to be 
willing ; to get or learn by heart, to 
commit to memory ; to have at heart, 
to feel strongly about ; to have in the 
heart, to design or to intend ; to lay 
or take to heart, to be concerned or 
anxious about ; to set the heart at rest, 
to tranquillize ; to set the heart on, to be 
desirous of, to be fond of ; to take heart 
of grace, to pluck up courage. 

Heartbreaker. A pendant curl, love 
lock (q.v.) : Fr., crevecceur (1663). 
Heartburn. A bad cigar. 
Heartsease. 1. A twenty - shilling 
piece (B. E.). 2. Gin : see Drinks 
(B. E.). 

Hearty. Drink, drunk : see Drinks 
and Screwed. My hearty, a familiar 

Hearty - choke. To have a hearty 
choke and caper sauce for breakfast, to 
be hanged : cf. Vegetable breakfast, 
and see Ladder (Grose). 

Heat. A bout, turn, trial : by 
this means the field is gradually re- 
duced : cf. Handicap (1681). **', \ 
Heathen - philosopher. ' A sorry 
poor tatter'd Fellow, whose Breech 
may be seen through his pocket- 
holes ' (B. E.). 

Heave. 1. An attempt to deceive 
or cajole ; a dead-heave, a flagrant 
attempt. 2. In pi., an attack of in- 
digestion or vomiting. As verb, (1) 
to vomit ; (2) to rob : old English ; has 
survived, in Shropshire, as a pro- 
vincialism : e.g. the heler (hider) is 
as bad as the heaver, the receiver is 
as bad as the thief (1567). To heave 

on (or ahead), to make haste, press 

Heaven. See Wheelbarrow. 

Heavenly-collar (or lappel). A 
collar or lappel that turns the wrong 

Heaver. 1. The bosom, panter 
(q.v.) (1696). 2. A person in love : 
i.e. sighing, or making play with the 
heaver. 3. A thief : cf. Heave. 

Heavy. See Heavy wet. As 
adj., large : e.g. a heavy amount, a 
considerable sum of money. To 
come (or do) the heavy, to affect a 
vastly superior position, put on airs 
or frills (q.v.). The Heavies, the 
regiments of Household cavalry, 4th 
and 5th Dragoon Guards, and 1st 
and 2nd Dragoons : from their equip- 
ment and weight. 

Heavy - Cavalry (or Dragoons). 
Bugs : cf. Light infantry, fleas : also 
Heavy horsemen, the Heavy troop, 
and the Heavies. 

Heavy-grog. Hard work. 

Heavy-grubber. 1. A hearty eater, 
glutton : cf. Stodger. 
. Heavy-plodder. A stockbroker. 
: Heavy- (or Howling-) swell. A 
man or woman in the height of fashion, 
spiff (q.v.). 

Heavy-wet. 1. Malt liquor : 
specifically porter and stout : also 
Heavy: see Drinks (1821). 2. A 
heavy drinking bout. 

Hebe. A waiting maid, a bar- 
maid, waitress (1603). 

Hebrew. Gibberish, Greek (q.v.). 
To talk Hebrew, to talk nonsense, 
gibberish (1705). 

Hector. A bully, blusterer (1659). 
As verb, to play the bully, bluster : 
also to play the Hector (1677). To 
wear Hector's cloak, to receive the 
right reward for treachery : when 
Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumber- 
land, was routed in 1569, he hid him- 
self in the house of Hector Armstrong, 
of Harlaw, who betrayed him for hire, 
and prospered so ill thereafter that he 
died a beggar by the roadside. 

Hectoring. Bullying, blustering. 

Hedge. 1. To secure oneself 
against (or minimise) loss on a bet by 
reversing on advantageous terms, To 
get out (q.v.) : thus if a man backs A 
to win him 100 at 5 to 1, he will if 
possible hedge by laying (say) 3 to 1 
to the amount of (say) 60 against 
him ; he will then stand thus if A 




wins he gains on the first bet 100, 
and loses on the second 60, leaving 
a net gain of 40 ; if A loses he gets 
on the first bet 20, and wins on the 
second 20, thus clearing himself ; also, 
as subs. ( 1616). 2. To elude a danger. 
To die by the hedge, to die in poverty ; 
to hang in the hedge, of a lawsuit or 
anything else Depending, Undeter- 
mined (B. E.) ; <u common as the 
hedge (or highway), very common ; 
by hedge or by crook : see Hook. 

Hedge - bird. A scoundrel, vaga- 
bond, vagrant (1614). 

Hedge-bottom Attorney (or 
Solicitor). A person who, being 
not admitted, or being uncertificated 
(or, it way be, admitted and certi- 
ficated both, but struck off the rolls 
for malpractices), sets up in the name 
of a qualified man, and thus evades 
the penalties attaching to those who 
act as solicitors without being duly 
qualified : all the business is done in 
another name, but the hedge-bottom 
is the real principal, the partner being 
only a dummy. 

Hedge - creeper. A hedge-thief, 
skulker under hedges, pitiful rascal 

Hedge - marriage (or wedding). 
An irregular marriage performed by a 
hedge- priest (q.v.), a marriage over 
the broom. 

Hedge - note. Low writing : as 
Dryden, They left these hedge-notes 
for another sort of poem. 

Hedge - popping. Shooting small 
birds about hedges. Whence, hedge- 
popper, a trumpery shooter ; and 
hedge-game, small birds, as sparrows 
and tits. 

Hedge - priest (or parson). A 
sham cleric, a blackguard or vaga- 
bond parson, a couple beggar. As 
Johnson notes, the use of Hedge in a 
detrimental sense is common hedge- 
begot, hedge-born, hedge-brat, hedge- 
found, hedge-docked, hedge - tavern 
(a low ale-house), hedge-square (q.v.), 
hedge-reared, hedge-mustard, hedge- 
writer (a Grub Street author), hedge- 
building, etc. Shakespeare uses the 
phrase hedge-born as the very opposite 
of gentle-blooded (' 1 Henry VL,' iv. L). 
Specifically, hedge-priest (in Ireland) 
is a cleric admitted to orders directly 
from a hedge-school (q.v.) without 
having studied theology : before May- 
nooth, men were admitted to ordina- 

tion ere they left for the continental 
colleges, so that they might receive the 
stipend for saying mass (1688). 

Hedge - school. A school in the 
country parts of Ireland formerly 
conducted in the open air, pending 
the erection of a permanent building 
to which the name was transferred. 
Hence, hedge-schoolmaster. 

Hedge-square. To doss (or snooze) 
in Hedge-square (or street), to sleep in 
the open air. English synonyms : to 
skipper it, doss with the daisies, be 
under the blue blanket, put up at the 
Gutter Hotel, do a star pitch. 

Hedge- tavern (or ale-house). 
A jilting, sharping tavern, or blind 
alehouse (B. E.). 

Heel. To bless the world with one's 
heels, to be hanged : see Ladder ( 1566). 
To cool (or kick) the heels, to wait 
a long while at an appointed place 
(1614). To lay by the heels, to confine, 
fetter, jail (1601) ; to lift one's heels, to 
lie down ; to turn (or topple) up the 
heels (or toes), to die : see Hop the 
twig ( 1592) ; to take to (or show) a 
pair of heels, to take flight, run 
away : see Burk (1593) ; his heels, the 
knave of trumps at cribbage or all- 
fours : hence, two for his heels, two 
points scored (at cribbage) for turning 
up this card ; to tread upon (be at, or 
upon) the heels, to follow close or hard 
after, pursue (1596) ; to go heels over 
head, to turn a somersault, be hasty, 
fall violently : also top over tail 
(1540) ; to have (or get) the heels of, to 
outrun, get an advantage (1748); 
down (or out) at heel, slipshod, shabby, 
in decay (1605). 

Heeled. Armed : from the steel 
spur used in cock-fighting. 

Heeler. 1. A follower or hench- 
man of a politician or a party. 2. 
A bar, or other loafer ; also any one 
on the lookout for shady work. 3. 
An accomplice in the pocket-book 
racket (q.v.) : the heeler draws 
attention, by touching the victim's 
heels, to a pocket-book containing 
counterfeit money which has been 
let drop by a companion, with a view 
to inducing the victim to part with 
genuine coin for a division of the find. 
4. (Winchester College). A plunge, feet 
foremost, into water : FT., chandeUe.\ 

Heel-taps. 1. Liquor in the bottom 
of a glass. Bumpers round and no 
heel taps, fill full, and drain dry ! Fr., 




musique (1795). 2. A dance peculiar 
to London dustmen. 

Heifer. A woman ; old heifer 
(in Western America), a term of en- 

Heifer-paddock. A ladies' school. 

Heigh - ho. Stolen yarn : from 
the expression used to apprise a fence 
that the speaker had stolen yarn to 

Helbat. A table. 

Hell. 1. Generic for a place of 
confinement, as hi some games 
(Sydney), or a cell in a prison : speci- 
fically, a place under the Exchequer 
Chamber, where the king's debtors 
were confined ( 1593). 2. A workman's 
receptacle for stolen or refuse pieces, 
as cloth, type, etc. ; one's eye (q.v.) ; 
also hell - hole and hell - box. Hell- 
matter (printers') old and battered 
type (1589). 3. A gambling house: 
whence silver-hell, a gambling house 
where only silver is played for. Danc- 
ing-hell, an unchartered hall ; and so 
forth (1823). Heaven, Hell, and Purga- 
tory, three ale-houses formerly situ- 
ated near Westminster Hall (1610); 
hell broke loose, extreme disorder, 
anarchy (1623); hell of a lark, goer, 
row, and so forth), very much of 

a , a popular intensitive ; all to 

hett (or gone to hell), utterly ruined ; 
to hope (or wish) to hell, to desire 
intensely ; to play (or kick up) hell and 
tommy, to ruin utterly : also to play 
hett and break things, to raise hett, to 
make heirs delight (1837) ; to lead 
apes in hett, to die an old maid : from 
a popular superstition (1599) ; to give 
hett, to trounce, abuse, punish severely: 
also (American), to make one smell 
hell ; hett for leather, with the utmost 
energy and desperation ; like hett, 
desperately, with all one's might; go 
to hett ! an emphatic dismissal ; hett 
and scissors I an ejaculation of sur- 
prise and ridicule. 

Hell-bender. A drunken frolic, 
a tremendous row : also hell-a-popping 
and hett's delight. 

Hell - broth. Bad liquor : see 

Hell-cat (hag, hound, kite, 
etc.). A man or woman of hellish 
disposition, a lewdster of either sex : 
cf. Hallion (1606). 

Hell-driver. A coachman (1696). 
Hellite. A professional gambler 

Hellophone. The telephone : from 
Halloo ! 

Help. A hired assistant. Lady- 
help, a woman acting as a companion 
and undertaking the lighter domestic 
duties with or without wages (1824). 
So help (or s'elp or s'welp) me God 
(Bob, never, or say-so), an emphatic 

Helpa. An apple. 

Helpless. Drunk : see Screwed. 

Hemp (or Hemp-seed, Stretch- 
hemp, Hemp-string, or Hempy). 
1. A rogue, candidate fit for the gal- 
lows : frequently used jocularly : see 
crack-halter (q.v.) : FT., graine de 
bagne. 2. A halter (1754); as verb, 
to choke, strangle. To wag hemp in 
the wind, to be hanged (1532). 

Hempen-bridle. A ship's rope or 

Hempen Collar (candle, circle, 
cravat, croak, garter, necktie, or 
habeas). The hangman's noose, a 
halter : also hemp, and the hearty- 
choke (1530). 

Hempen Fever. To die of a 
hempen fever, to be hanged : see 
Ladder (Grose). 

Hempen-fortune. Bad luck : also 
the gallows. 

Hempen-squincy. Hanging : see 
Ladder (1646). 

Hempen-widow. A woman 
widowed by the gallows (1696). 

Hen. 1. A woman : specifically, a 
wife or mistress (1811). 2. Drink 
money : see Hen drinking. As verb, 
to funk, turn tail ; to hen on, to fear 
to attempt. Cock and hen club, club 
open to both sexes. Hens and 
chickens, pewter measures quarts 
and pints : cf. Cat and kittens (1851). 

Hen-drinking. A Yorkshire 
marriage-custom : on the evening of 
the wedding day the young men of 
the village call upon the bridegroom 
for a hen meaning money for re- 
freshments .... should the hen be 
refused, the inmates may expect some 
ugly trick to the house ere the festi- 
vities terminate. 

Hen Frigate. A ship commanded 
by the captain's wife : cf. Hen-pecked 

Hen-fruit. Eggs. 

Hen- (or Chicken-) hearted. 
Timorous, cowardly (1529). 

Hen-house. A house under petti- 
coat government (Grose). 




Hen-party (convention, or tea). 
An assemblage of women for political 
or social purposes. 

H e n-p e c k e d. Petticoat govern- 
ment, ruled by a woman (1696). 

Hen-snatcher. A chicken thief. 

Hens '-rights. Women's righto. 

Hen - toed. To turn the toes in 
walking, like a fowL 

Here. Here's to you (at you, 
unto you, now, or luck), an invitation 
to drink, here's a health to you (1651). 
Here's luck, I don't believe you. / 
am not here, I don't feel inclined to 
work, I wish to be left alone. 

Here-and-Thereian. A rolling stone, 
a person with no permanent address 
(Lex. Bal., 1811). 

Hereford. White : Herefords 
are white-faced. 

Herefordshire- weed. An oak. 

Her Majesty's Carriage. A 
prison van, the King's 'bus : see 
Black Maria: FT., omnibus A pegres. 

Her Majesty's Tobacco pipe. 
The furnace where forfeited tobacco 
from the Customs House was burnt : 
now a thing of the past : the tobacco 
being distributed to workhouses, etc. : 
see Tobacco-pipe. 

Herod. To out-Herod Herod, 
to out-do, specifically (theatrical) to 
excel in rant (1596). 

Herring. Neither fish, flesh, 
fowl, nor good red herring, neither one 
thing not the other (1682) ; to throw a 
sprat to catch a herring (or whole), to 
forego an advantage in the hope of 
greater profit (1826) ; dead as a herring 
(or shotten herring), quite dead : 
herrings die sooner on leaving the 
water than most fish (1596); like 
herrings in a barrel, very crowded ; 
the devil a barrel the better herring, all 
alike, indistinguishable. 

Herring - gutted. Lanky, thin 

Herring - pond. The sea : speci- 
fically, the North Atlantip Ocean. To 
be sent across the herring-pond, to be 
transported (1722). 

Hertfordshire - kindness. An 
acknowledgment, or return, in kind, 
of favours received : spec, drinking 
to him who has already toasted one. 

Hewgag. The Hewgag, an undeter- 
minate, unknown, mythical creature. 

Hiccius Doccius. A juggler ; also 
a shifty fellow or trickster (1676). As 
adj., drunk. 

Hie Jacet. A tombstone ; also 
a memorial inscription (1598). 

Hick. A man ; specifically a 
countryman, a booby : also (American 
thieves') hick- jo p and hicksam (1696). 

Hickety - split. With all one's 
might, at top speed, hammer and 
tongs (q.v.), full chisel (q.v.). 

Hickey. Drunk : see Screwed. 

Hickory-shirt. A checked shirt, 
cotton or wool 

Hide. The human skin : once 
literary, now colloquial or vulgar 
(1568). As verb, to flog, tan. 

Hidebound. Barren, intractable, 
niggardly, pedantic, utterly immov- 
able (1606). 

Hiding. A thrashing. 

Higgledy-piggledy. In confusion, 
topsy - turvy, at sixes and sevens 

High. 1. Drunk : see Screwed. 
2. Stinking, gamey (q.v.) ; whence, 
by implication, diseased, obscene in 
intention and effect. The High and 
Dry, the High Church or Anglo- 
Catholic party in the Establishment, 
as opposed to the Low and Slow (q.v.), 
or Evangelical section : cf. Broad 
and Shallow (1854). High and dry, 
stranded, abandoned, irrecoverable ; 
high and mighty, arrogant, imperious, 
proud, on the high horse or the high 
ropes (q.v.), full of side (q.v.) ; too high 
for one's nut, out of one's reach, beyond 
one's capacity, over one's bend (q.v.) ; 
you cant get high enough, a derisive 
comment on any kind of failure ; 
how is that for high ? what do you 
think of it T once a tag universal, 
common wear now (1860). 

High-bellied (or High in the belly). 
Pregnant : also High-waisted. 

Highbinder. 1. A Chinese black- 
mailer. 2. (political American). A 
political conspirator (Norton). 

High-bloke. 1. A judge. 2. A 
well-dressed man, splawger (q.v.). 

Highfalute. To use fine words, 
yarn (q.v.): FT.,faireCttroite. Whence 
highfaluting, bombast, rant ; and as 
adj., bombastic, fustian, thrasonical 

High-feather. In high feather, in 
luck, on good terms with oneself and 
the world. 

High-fly. To be on the high-fly, 
specifically, to practise the begging- 
letter imposture, but (generally) to 
tramp the country as a beggar (1839). 




Highflyer. 1. Anything or any- 
body out of the common in opinion, 
pretension, attire, and so forth. 2. A 
dandy, male or female, of the first 
water. 3. A fast coach (1690). 4. A 
beggar with a certain style, begging- 
letter writer, broken swell (1851). 5. 
A swing fixed in rows in a frame much 
in vogue at fairs. 

High-flying. 1. Extravagance in 
opinion, pretension, or conduct (1689). 
2. Begging, the high-fly (q.v.), Stilling 

High-gag. A whisperer (Matsell). 

The high gag, telling secrets (Matsell). 

High-game. A mansion (thieves'). 

High - gig. In high gig, in good 

fettle, lively. 

High-go. A drinking bout, frolic. 
High - heeled Shoes. To have 
high-heeled shoes on, to set up as a 
person of consequence, do the grand 

High Horse. To go (or get) on 
(or ride) the high horse, to give oneself 
airs, stand on one's dignity, take 
offence : Fr., monter sur ses grands 
chevaux : the simile is common to most 
languages (1716). 

High - jinks. 1. An old game 
variously played : most frequently 
dice were thrown by the company, 
and those upon whom the lot fell were 
obliged to assume and maintain for a 
time a certain fictitious character, or to 
repeat a certain number of fescennine 
verses in a particular order. If they 
departed from the characters assigned 
. . . they incurred forfeits, which were 
compounded for by swallowing an 
additional bumper (Guy Manner ing, 
Note to ch. xxxii.) (1696). 2. A 
gambler at dice, who, having a strong 
head, drinks to intoxicate his adver- 
sary or pigeon. Under this head are 
also classed those fellows who keep little 
goes, take in insurances ; also, attend- 
ants at the races, and at the E O 
tables ; chaps always on the lookout 
to rob unwary countrymen at cards, 
etc. (Grose). 3. A frolic, row. To 
be at his high jinks, to be stilted and 
arrogant in manner, ride the high 
horse (q.v.) : Fr., faire sa merde (or 
sa poire). 

High-kicker. Specifically a dancer 
whose speciality is the high kick 
or the porte d' armes ; whence, by meta- 
phor, any desperate spreester (q.v.), 
male or female. 

High - kilted. Obscene or there- 
abouts, full flavoured (q.v.). 

Highland-bail. The right of the 
strongest, force majeure (1816). 

High - lawyer. A highwayman : 
see Thief (1592). 

High - liver. A garrotter, thief 
housed in an attic : hence high-living, 
lodging in a garret (Lex. Bal. ). 

High-men. Dice loaded to run 
high: also, high-runners (1594). 

High - nosed. Very proud in look 
and hi fact, supercilious hi bearing 
and speech, superior (q.v.). 

High (or gay) old time (Game, 
Liar, etc.). A general intensitive: e.g. 
high old time, a very merry time 
indeed ; high old liar, a liar of might ; 
high old drunk, an uncommon booze 

High-pad (Toby, or High-Toby- 
splice). 1. The highway : also 
high-splice toby (1567). 2. A high- 
wayman : also high - toby man (or 
-gloak). (1696). 3. Highway rob- 
bery (1819). 

High-pooped. Heavily buttocked. 

High - rented. 1. Hot. 2. Very 
well known to the police ; hot (q.v.). 

High-roller. A goer (q.v.), fast 
liver, heavy gambler, highflyer (q.v.). 

High - ropes. To be on the high- 
ropes, to be angry, excited : also to 
put on airs, stand on one's dignity, 
ride the high-horse (q.v.) (1811). 

High-seasoned (or Highly-spiced). 
Obscene : cf. Spicy. 

High- (or clouted-) shoon. A 
countryman, joskin (q.v.) (1696). 

High-sniffing. Pretentious, super- 
cilious, very obviously better than 
one's company, high-nosed (q.v.). 

High-stepper. An exemplar (male 
or female) of what is fashionable, 
swell (q.v.) : also a person of spirit. 
Whence, high-stepping (or high-pac- 
ing), conspicuously elegant or gallant, 
in dress, speech, manner, conduct, any- 

High - stomached. Proud, dis- 
dainful, pot-valiant. 

High-strikes. Hysterics (1838). 

High-tea. Tea with meat, etc. : 
in Lancashire, bagging (q.v.). 

High-ti. A showy recitation 
(American : Williams Coll.) ; at Har- 
vard, a squirt (q.v.). 

H i g h-t i d e (or water) . Rich for 
the moment, the state of being flush 
(q.v.) (1696). Up to high-water mark 




in good condition : a general expres- 
sion of approval. 

High-toby. See High pad. 

High-toned. Aristocratic ; also, 
morally and intellectually endowed, 
beyond the common. High souled, 
cultured, fashionable. High - toned 
nigger, a negro who has raised himself 
in social position. [Once literary ; 
now utterly discredited and never 
used, save in ignorance or derision. 
Stokes, the maniac who shot Garfield, 
described himself as a high-toned 

Highty-tighty (or Hoity-toity). A 
wanton (1696). As adj., peremptory, 
waspish, quarrelsome. 

High Wood. To live in high wood, 
to hide, dissemble of purpose, lie low, 
keep quiet. 

Higulcion - flips. An imaginary 

Hike. To move about: also to 
carry off, arrest (1811). 

Hilding. A jade, wanton, dis- 
reputable slut (1593). 

Hill. Not worth a hill of beam, 
absolutely worthless. 

Hills (Winchester Coll.). 1. St. 
Catharine's Hill. 2. (Cambridge Univ.) 
The Gogmagog Hills : a common morn- 
ing's ride (Gradus ad Cantab.). 

Hilly. Difficult : e.g. hilly reading, 
hard to read ; hilly going, not easy to 
do ; etc. 

Hilt. Loose in the hilt, unsteady, 
rocky (q.v.), lax in the bowels (1B39). 

Hind-boot. The breech. 

Hind-coachwheel. A five shilling 
piece : Fr., roue de derriere, thune, or 
palrt, a five franc piece : see Rhino. 

H i n d - 1 e g. To kick out a hind 
leg, to lout, make a rustic bow. To 
talk the hind leg off a horse (or dog) : 
see Talk ; to sit upon one's hind legs 
and howl, to bemoan one's fate, make 
a hullabaloo. 

Hindoo. See Know - nothing. 
Hindoo punishment, more often called 
the muscle grind, a rather painful 

Hip. To have (get, or catch) on 
the hip, to have (or get) an advantage 
( 1591). 

H i p e. A throw over the hip. 
Hence, as verb, to get across the hip 
before the throw. 

Hip-hop. To skip or move on one 
leg, hop : a cant word framed by the 
reduplication of hop (Johnson) (1700). 

Hip - inside. An inner pocket 
Hip-outside, an outer ditto. 

Hipped (or Hippish). Bored, melan- 
cholical, out of sorts (1710). 

Hippen. A baby's napkin (i.e. 
hipping cloth). Also (theatrical), the 
green curtain. 

Hiren. 1. A prostitute: a cor- 
ruption of Irene, the heroine in Poole's 
play (1584). 2. A sword: also a 
roaring bully, fighting hector : from 
Irene, the Goddess of Peace, a lucus 
a non lucendo. 

Hishee - Hashee. See Soap-and- 

His Nibs (or Nabs). See Nibs. 

Hiss. The hiss (Winchester Col- 
lege), the signal of a master's approach. 

Historical- (Wrought-, or Illus- 
trated-) Shirt. A shirt or shift 
worked or woven with pictures or 
texts (1596). 

History of the Four Kings. See 
Four Kings. 

Hit A success : e.g. to make a hit, 
to score, profit, excel (1602). As 
adj. (Old Bailey), convicted. Hard- 
hit, sore beset, hard-up (q.v.) : also 
deep in love (grief, or anger). As 
verb, to arrive at, light on. To 
hit it, to attain an object, light upon 
a device, guess a secret (1594) ; to hit 
off, to agree together, fit, describe 
with accuracy and precision (1857); 
to hit the flat, to go out on the prairie 
(cowboy) ; to hit the pipe, to smoke 
opium ; to hit one where he lives, to 
touch in a tender part, hurt the 
feelings, touch on the raw (q.v.) ; hit 
(or struck) with, taken, enamoured, 
prepossessed : also hit up with ; hit 

exercise upon the bar, in which the in the teeth, to reproach, taunt, fling 
arms are turned backward to embrace in one's face (1663). 

Hitch. 1. To marry. Hitched, 

the bar, and then brought forward 
upon the chest, in which position the 
performer revolves. 

Hind - shifters. The feet : see 
Creepers (1823). 

Hinges. Off the hinges, in con- 
fusion, out of sorts, not quite the 


1. To marry. 

married. 2. To agree : also to hitch 
horses. To hitch one's team to the 
fence, to settle down. 

Hittite. A prize fighter. Eng- 
lish synonyms : basher, bruiser, duke- 
ster, fistite, knight of the fist, gem- 
man of the fancy, milling-cove, pug, 



icher, scrapper, slasher, slogger, 
jgger, sparring- bloke (1823). 
Hive. To steal. To get hived, to 
caught in a scrape : also to be 
idden. To be hived perfectly frigid, 
i be caught in flagrante delicto. 
Hivite. A student of St. Bees' 
Hoaky. By the hoaky, a popular 
rm of adjuration. 

Hoax. A jest, practical joke, 
te-in : originally (Grose) University 
it. As verb, to play a practical 

, take-in, bite (q.v.). 
Hob (or Hobbinol). A clown (Grose). 
Hob and Nob (or Hob Nob). 
To invite to drink, clink glasses 
1756). 2. To give or take, to hit 
miss at random (1577). 3. To be 
terms of close intimacy, consort 
uniliarly together. 
Hobbes's-voyage. A leap in the 
Hobbinol. Countryman, joskin 

Hobble. In a hobble (or hobbled), 
trouble, hampered, puzzled : also 
ieves'), committed for trial : FT., 
ber dans la melasse (to come a 
ropper), and faitre (booked, q.v.). 
lobbied upon the legs, transported or 
the hulks (1777). 
Hobbledehoy. A growing 
gawk : as in the folk-rhyme, Hobble- 
dehoy, neither man nor boy. [For 
derivation, see Notes and Queries, 1 S., 
v. 468, vii. 572; 4 S., ii. 297, viii. 
451, ix. 47 ; 7 S., iv. 523, and v. 58.] 
(1557). Hence Hobbledehoyish and 

Hobbledelee. A pace be- 
tween a walk and a run, a jog-trot 

Hobble r. A coast-man half 
smuggler, half handyman ; an un- 
licensed pilot : also a landsman acting 
as tow-Jack (Smyth). Also (Isle of 
Man), a boatman. 

Hobby. 1. A hackney, a horse in 
common use (1606). 2. A translation. 
To ride hobbies, to use cribs (q.v.). 
Sir Posthumous Hobby, one nice or 
whimsical in his clothes. 

Hobby-horse. 1. A whim, fancy, 
favourite pursuit. Hence Hobby- 
horsical, strongly attached to a par- 
ticular fad (1759). 2. A rantipole 
girl, wench, wanton (1594). 3. A 
witless, unmannerly lout (1609). As 
verb, to romp. 

Hob - collingwood. The four of 
hearts : considered an unlucky card. 

Hob- jobber. A man or boy on 
the look-out for small jobs holding 
horses, carrying parcels, and the like. 

Hob-nail. A countryman, joskin 

Hobnailed. Boorish, clumsy, coarse, 
ill-done (1599). 

Hobson's-choice. That or none : 
i.e. there is no alternative : popularly 
derived from the name of a Cam- 
bridge livery stable keeper, whose rule 
was that each customer must take 
the horse next the door, or have no 
horse at all. 

Hock. 1. The last card in the 
dealer's box at faro. Hence, from 
soda (q.v.) to hock, from beginning to 
end. 2. In pi., the feet. Curby 
hocks, clumsy foot : see Creepers 
(Grose). Old hock, stale beer ; swipes 
(q.v.). In hock, laid by the heels, 
fleeced, bested (q.v.); and (thieves'), 
in prison. 

Hock-dockies. Shoes : see Trotter- 
cases (1789). 

Hockey. Drunk, especially on 
stale beer : see Screwed. 

Hocus. 1. A cheat, impostor : 
see Hocus-pocus (1654). 2. Drugged 
liquor (1823). As adj., drunk: see 
Screwed. As verb, (1) to cheat, 
impose upon ; (2) to drug, snuff (q.v.) 

Hocus-pocus. 1. A juggler's 
phrase : hence a juggler's (or im- 
postor's) stock in trade : also Hocus- 
trade (1639). 2. A trickster, juggler, 
impostor (1625). 3. A cheat, imposi- 
tion, juggler's trick (1713). As adj., 
cheating, fraudulent (1715). As 
verb, to cheat, trick. 

Hod (or Brother Hod). A brick- 
layer's labourer. Hod of mortar, a 
pot of porter. 

Hoddy-doddy (or Hoddie-doddie). 
A short thick-set man or woman : 
see Forty -guts. Also a fool (1534). 

Hoddy-peak (or peke). A fool, 
cuckold (1529). 

Hodge. A farm labourer, rustic 

Hodge-podge (or Hotch-potch). 
A mixture, medley : Sp., commis- 
trajo : see Hotch-potch ( 1553). 

Hodman. A scholar from West- 
minster School admitted to Christ 
Church College, Oxford (1728). 

Hodmandod. 1. A snail in hia 



Holborn HiU. 

shell (Bacon): see Doddy (1663). 2. 
A Hottentot (1686). 

Hoe. To hoe in, to work with 
rigour, swot (q.v.). To hoe one'* 
own row, to do one's own work. Hard 
row to hoe : see Hard row. 

Hoe-down. A negro dance, break- 
down (q.v.). 

Hog. 1. A shilling : also a six- 
pence : and (in America) a ten-cent 
piece: see Rhino (1686). 2. A foul- 
mouthed blackguard, dirty feeder : 
also, a common glutton (1598). 3. 
(Cambridge Univ. : obsolete), a 
student of St. John's : also Johnian 
Hog : see Crackle, Bridge of Grunts, 
and Isthmus of Suez (1690). 4. A 
yearling sheep (1796). 5. An inhabit- 
ant of Chicago : that city being a 
notable pig-breeding and pork-packing 
centre. 6. A Hampshireman (1770). 
As verb, (1) to cheat, humbug, gam- 
mon (q.v.) ; (2) to cut short: e.g. to 
hog a horse's mane. A hog in armour, 
a lout in fine clothes : also a Jack-in- 
office (q.v.) : Hog-in-togs (in America), 
a well-dressed loafer (Grose). Hog and 
hominy, plain fare, common doings 
(q.v.) : pork and maize are the two 
cheapest food stuffs in the U.S.A. 
To go the whole hog : see Whole animal. 
To bring one's hogs (or pigs) to a fine 
market, to do well, make a good deal 
(q.v.) : also in sarcasm, the opposite 
(1696). To drive one's hogs (or pigs) 
to market, to snore (1738). 

Hog - age. The period between 
boyhood and manhood : cf. Hobble- 

Hogan - mogan. The States- 
General of the United Provinces were 
officially addressed as High and 
Mighty Lords, or in Dutch, Hoogmo- 
genden ; hence English satirists called 
them hogans - mogans, and applied 
the phrase to Dutchmen in general. 

Hog-grubber. A miser, niggard, 
mean cuss (q.v.) (1696). 

Hogmenay. 1. New Year's Eve, 
which is a national festival : the origin 
of the term has been the subject of 
much discussion (1776). 2. Hence a 
wanton : the feast was celebrated with 
much drink and not a little license. 

Hogo. A flavour, aroma, relish. 
Hence, in irony, and by corruption, a 
stink : cf. Fogo : from FT., haul gout 

Hogshead. To couch a hogshead, to 
lie down to sleep (1567). 

Hog-shearing. Much ado about 
nothing, great cry and little wool 

Hogs-Norton. To have been born at 
Hogs-Norton, to be ill-mannered( 1666). 

Hog-wash. 1. Bad liquor ; speci- 
fically, rot-gut (q.v.). 2. Worthless 
newspaper matter, slush, swash, and 
flub-dub (q.v.). 

Hoi Polloi. The candidates for 
ordinary degrees : from the Greek : 
cf. Gulf. 

Hoist. A shop-lifter ; also a con- 
federate hoisting or helping a thief 
to reach an open window. The hoist, 
shop-lifting. To go upon the hoist, to 
enter a house by an open window 
(Orose). As verb, (1) to shop-lift, rob 
by means of the hoist (q.v.) ; (2) to 
run away : see Bunk ; (3) to drink : 
e.g. Will you hoist ? will you have a 
liquor ? hoisting, drinking ; on the 
hoist, on the drunk : also a hoist in. 
To give a hoist, to do a bad turn. 

Hoister. 1. A shop-lifter, hoist 
(q.v.) : also a pickpocket. 2. A sot : 
see Lushington. 

Hoisting (or Hoist-lay). 1. Shop- 
lifting, the hoist (q.v.) : also shaking 
a man head downwards, so that his 
money rolls out of his pockets. 2. A 
ludicrous ceremony, formerly per- 
formed on every soldier the first time 
he appeared in the field after being 
married, as soon as the regiment, or 
company, had grounded their arms, 
to rest awhile ; three or four men of 
the same company to which the bride- 
groom belonged, seized upon him, and 
putting a couple of bayonets out of 
the two corners of his hat, to represent 
horns, it was placed on his head, the 
back part foremost, he was then 
hoisted on the shoulders of two strong 
fellows, and carried round the arms, 
a drum and fife beating and playing 
the pioneers' call, named Bound-heads 
and Cuckolds, but on this occasion 
styled the Cuckold's March : in passing 
the colours he was to take off his hat 
.... This in some regiments was 
practised by the officers on their 
brethren (Orose). 

Hoit (or Hoyt). To be noisily or 
riotously inclined (1611). 

Hoity-toity. See Highty-tighty. 

Hokey-pokey. 1. A cheat, swindle, 
nonsense : from Hocus-pocus. 2. A 
cheap ice-cream sold in the streets. 

Holborn HilL To ride back- 



wards up Holborn Hill, to go to the 
gallows : the way was thence to 
Tyburn, criminals riding backwards 
(Grose) (1614). 

Hold. To bet, wager : see Do 
you hold? infra (1534). Phrases: 
To hold on to, to apply oneself, be per- 
sistent : generally, to hold on like grim 
death; to hold up, (1) to rob on the 
highway, bail or stick up (q.v.) : also 
as subs., a highwayman, road-agent 
(q.v.) ; (2) to arrest : see Nab ; to hold 
the stage, to have the chief place on the 
boards and the eye of an audience : 
FT., avoir les planches ; to hold a candle 
to (the devil, etc. ) : see Devil ; to hold 
a candle to, to vie with, be comparable 
to, assist in or condone ; to hold (or 
hang) on by the eyelids, eyelashes or eye- 
brows, ( 1 ) to pursue an object desper- 
ately, insist upon a point, carry on a 
forlorn hope : see Splash-board ; (2) 
said of a man aloft with nothing much 
to lay hold of; to hold in hand, to 
amuse, possess the attention of the 
mind, have in one's pocket; to hold the 
market, to buy stock and hold it to so 
large an extent that the price cannot 
decline ; do you hold ? have you money 
to lend ? can you stand treat ? hold your 
horses, go easy, don't get excited : a 
general injunction to calm in act and 
speech ; hold your jaw, hold your 
tongue, stow your gab (q.v.) ; Hold 
hard ! (or on) ! wait a moment ! don't 
be in a hurry ! (1761) ; to hold-stitch : 
see Stitch ; to hold water : see Water. 
Hold-out. An old-fashioned 
apparatus, in poker, for holding out 
desirable cards. 

Hole. 1. A cell: cf. Hell, sense 1. 
(1540). 2. A cock-robin shop, private 
rinting office : where unlicensed books 
ere made (Moxori), (1683). 3. A 
lifficulty, fix, hence (on the turf), to 
in a hole, to lose (a bet) or be de- 
ited (of horses) ( 1 760). 4. A place of 
ibode : specifically, a mean habitation, 
i dirty lodging : see Diggings. Phrases: 
hole in one's coat, a flaw in one's 
ae, weak spot in one's character. 
To pick a hole in one's coat, to find a 
cause for censure ; to make (or burn) a 
le in one's pocket, said of money 
recklessly spent ; to make a hole in 
anything, to use up largely (1663) ; 
make a hole in the water, to commit 
suicide by drowning ; to make a hole, to 
break, spoil, upset, interrupt ; to make 
a hole in one's manners, to be rude; 

to make a hole in one's reputation, to 
betray, seduce ; to make a hole in the 
silence, to make a noise, raise Cain 
(q.v.) ; too drunk to see a hole in a 
ladder, very drunk : see Screwed. 

Hole-and-corner. Secret, under- 
hand, out of the way : e.g. hole-and- 
corner work, shady business. 

Holiday. Unskilled, indifferent, 
careless (Grose). Blind man's holi- 
day : see ante. To have a holiday at 
Peckham, to go dinnerless. AU holi- 
day at Peckham, no work and nothing 
to eat. To take a holiday, to be dis- 
missed, get the gag (q.v.), or sack 
(q.v.). Gone for a holiday, said of a 
flaw, lapse, or imperfection of any kind 
(as dropped stitches, lost buttons, 
slurred painting, and so forth : also 
(Grose), any part of a ship's bottom 
left uncovered in painting it, and 
(Clark Russell) places left untarred on 
shrouds, backstays, etc., during the 
operation of tarring them. 

Holler. To cry enough, give in, 
cave in (q.v.) (1847). 

H o 1 1 i s (Winchester College). A 
small pebble (Notions). 

Hollow. Complete, certain, de- 
cided : as adv., completely, utterly : 
e.g. to beat or lick hollow (1759). 

Holt. To take, take hold of. 

Holus-bolus. The head : also the 
neck. As adv., belter skelter, alto- 
gether, first come first served. 

Holy. More holy than righteous, 
said of a person in rags, or of a tattered 

Holy-boys. The Ninth Foot, now 
the Norfolk Regiment : from a trick of 
selling bibles for drink in the Penin- 

Holy - father. A butcher's boy 
of St. Patrick's market, Dublin, or 
other Irish blackguard ; among whom 
the exclamation, or oath, by the Holy 
Father (meaning the Pope), is common 

Holy Iron. See Holy Poker. 

Holy Joe. A pious person, 
whether hypocritical or sincere : also 
nautical), a parson. 

Holy Jumping Mother of Moses. 
See Moses. 

Holy - lamb. A thorough-paced 
villain (Grose). 

H o 1 y - 1 a n d (or G r o u n d). 1. 
St. Giles's, Palestine (q.v.) (1819). 
2. Generic for any neighbourhood 
affected by Jews : specifically, Bays- 


Holy Moses. 


water, and Brighton : cf. New Jeru- 
salem, and Holy of Holies. 
Holy Moses. See Moses. 
Holy of Holies. 1. The Grand 
Hotel at Brighton : which is largely 
tenanted by Jews. 2. A private room ; 
a sanctum (q.v.). 

Holy Poker (or Iron). The maoe 
carried by an esquire bedel (of Law, 
Physic, or Divinity) as a badge of 
authority : the term, which is applied 
to the bedels themselves, is very often 
used as an oath. 

Holy-water Sprinkler. A medi- 
eval weapon of offence ; a morning 
star (q.v.). 

Home. England. To get home, 
1. to achieve an object, succeed per- 
fectly, and (athletic) to reach the 
winning post. 2. to get in (a blow) 
with precision and effect, land (q.v.) : 
also(old) to give a mortal wound (1559) 
3. To recover a loss, neither to win nor 
lose, come out quits : also, to bring 
oneself home. To make oneself at home, 
to take one's ease, be familiar to the 
point of ill-breeding. To come home 
to, to reach the conscience, touch 
deeply. To go (send, or carry) home 
(or to one's last home), to die, kill, 
bury : the Chinese say, To go home 
horizontally : see Hop the twig (1598). 
Home-bird. A hen-pecked hus- 
band : also a milksop : Fr., chauffe- 
la-couche (warming-pan). 

Home for lost dogs. A large and 
well-known medical school in London : 
from the fact that the majority of its 
inmates have strayed there from the 
various hospital schools, as a last 
resource toward taking a degree. 

Home - rule. Irish whisky : see 

Homo. A man : generally Omee 
(q.v.): from the Latin: see Cove. 

Homoney. A woman, also a wife : 
see Homo (1754). 

Homo-opathise. To get bills (i.e. 
petitions) through Legislature, Con- 
gress, or City Council, by means of 
bills (i.e. bank-bills). 

Honest. 1. Chaste (1596). 2. 
Not positively illegal : as honest penny 
or shilling, money earned by means 
immoral (as by prostitution) but 
within the law. To turn an honest 
penny, to make a profitable deal 
( 1677). To mate an honest woman, to 
marry a mistress (1629). As honest 
man as when kings are out, knavish. 

Honest as the skin between the brows (or 
horns), as honest as may be (1551). 

Honest Injun 1 A pledge of sincer- 
ity; honour bright (q.v.). 

Honey. 1. A good fellow. 2. 
Money : see Rhino. 3. A term of en- 
dearment. As verb, to cajole, ex- 
change endearments, deceive by soft 
words or promises (1596). To sell 
honey for a halfpenny, to rate at a vile 
price (1592). 

Honey-blobs. Large, ripe, yellow 
gooseberries (1746). 

Honeycomb. A sweetheart: a 
general term of endearment (1562). 

Honey-fogle (or fugle). To cheat, 
swindle, humbug : see Gammon. 

Honour Bright ! Upon my honour 

Hood. Two faces under one hood 
(or hat), double-dealing. To put a 
bone in one's hood, to cuckold (1560). 
Hoodlum. A young rough of 
either sex : also (political), a low- 
class voter : originally Californian : cf. 

Hoodman. A blind man, groper 
(q.v.). As adj., blind; spec, drunk: 
also hoodman blind, blind drunk : Fr., 
berlu and sans mirettes. 

Hoof. A foot : see Creepers (1830). 
As verb, to kick. Hence, to hoof out, to 
eject, dismiss, discharge, decline to 
see. To hoof it (to pad or beat the 
hoof), to walk, tramp it, run away ; 
hence Hoof-padding (1596). To see 
one's hoof in (a thing), to detect per- 
sonal influence or interference in a 

Hoof-padder. A pedestrian. 
Hoofy. Splay, large. 
Hook. 1. A finger : see Fork. In 
pi., the hands : also Hooks and Feelers 
(q.v.). 2. A thief (1562). 3. A catch, 
advantage, imposture. As verb, ( 1 ) to 
rob, steal: specifically, to steal watches, 
rings, etc., from a shop by cutting 
small hole in the window, and fish 
for such articles with a piece of st 
with a hook at the end (1615) ; (2) 
secure (as for marriage), marry. 
intj. (Oxford Univ.), an exj 
implying doubt Phrases : On 
hook, (1) on the thieve, on the 
(q.v.); (2) on the hip (q.v.), at 
advantage (1694) ; hook and eye, 
and arm ; to take (or sling) one's 
(or to hook it), to decamp, run ai 
see Bunk ; to drop (go, or pop) off i 
hooks, (I) to die: see Hop the 

Hook and Snivey. 


(1837) ; (2) to get married ; to hook 
on to, to attach oneself to, button- 
hole (q.v.), follow up; on one's own 
hook, on one's own account (risk, or 
responsibility), for one's own sake, 
dependent on one's own resources (or 
exertions) ; by hook or by crook, by 
some means or other, by fair means 
or foul, at all hazards : probably of 
forestal origin (1298) ; with a hook at 
the end, a reservation of assent, over 
the left (q.v.), in a horn (q.v.) (1823) ; 
off the hooks, out of temper, vexed, 
disturbed, out of sorts : Fr., sortir de 
sea gonds, off the hinges (q.v.) : see 
Nab the rust. 

Hook and Snivey (or Hookum Sni- 
vey). 1. An imposture: specifically 
getting food on false pretences (1781). 

2. An impostor as described in sense 1.. 

3. A contemptuous or sarcastic affir- 
mation, accompanied by the gesture of 
taking a sight (q.v.) or playing 
hookey (q.v.). 4. A crook of thick 
iron wire in a wooden handle, used 
to undo the wooden bolts of doors 
from without (1801). 

Hooked. Over-reached, snapt, 

Hooker. 1. A thief (q.v.), 
angler (q.v.) : also (modern) a watch- 
stealer, dip (q.v.). 'These hokers or 
Angglers, be peryllous and most 
wicked knaues, .... they customably 
carry with them a staffe of v. or vi. 
foote long, in which, within one ynch 
of the tope thereof, ys a lytle hole 
bored through, [leaf 9] in which hole 
they putte an yron hoke, and with 
the same they wyll pluck vnto them 
quickly any thing that they may 
reche ther with' (Harman). 2. A 

Hookey. To play hookey, to play 
truant, do Charley- wag (q.v.). To 
do (or play) hookey (or hooky), to 
apply the thumb and fingers to the 
nose, take a sight (q.v.), coffee-mill 

Hookey Walker ! (or Walker !) 
Be off ! go away : also implying 
doubt : cf. With a hook. [Bee : From 
John Walker, a hook - nosed spy, 
whose reports were proved to be fabri- 

H o o k i n g-c o w. A cow showing 

Hook-pole Lay. Pulling a man off 
his horse by means of iron hooks at 
the end of a long pole, and plundering 

him (Smith, Lives of Highwaymen, III. 
192, 1720). 

Hook-shop. A brothel. 

Hoop. 1. A ring. 2. See Bull- 
finch. As verb, to beat. To well 
hoop one's barrel, to thrash soundly, 
tan (Grose). To hoop it (or go through 
the hoop), (1) to pass the Insolvent 
Debtor's Court ; to get hooped up, 
whitewashed (q.v.) ; (2) to run away : 
see Bunk. 

Hoop-stick. The arm. 

Hoosier. A native of Indiana : 
perhaps the most reasonable of several 
ingenious explanations is, that in the 
early days the customary challenge 
or greeting in that region was, Who's 
yer ? (who's here ?) : pronounced 
hoosier (Norton) (1843). 

Hooter. 1. A steam-whistle, 
American devil (q.v.). 2. A wooden 
trumpet, so contrived as to make a 
horrible noise. 3. A corruption of 
iota: e.g. I don't care a hooter for 

Hooting-pudding. A plum-pudding 
with such a paucity of plums that you 
can hear them hooting after each 
other (Slang, Jargon, and Cant). 

Hop. A dance : generally informal, 
as a Cinderella (q.v.). Also (1579) the 
motions of dancing. Hop - and - go- 
kick, a lameter, hop-and-go-one : cf. 
Dot-and-carry-one. To hop the wag, 
to play truant, or Charley- wag (q.v.) 
To hop (or jump) over the broom (or 
broomstick), to live as husband and